How to Shop for Safe Toys This Holiday Season
One thing we can all count on during the holiday season? Many parents and other loved ones will buy toys for children. An overlooked – and arguably more important – goal should be to take precautions to make sure you choose safe toys for those same kids.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that almost 210,000 children went to the emergency room for a toy-related injury in 2022. Of those injuries almost 40 percent of them were sustained by children four years of age or younger.
While supervision is still the best bet to prevent childhood injuries, our hope is that being an informed shopper will help ensure a festive holiday for you and yours.
Annual Survey Shows Not All Toys Meet Safety Standards
Unfortunately, making a list and checking it twice for safety is not always easy. The CPSC does not test all toys, and not all toys in stores or online meet CPSC standards. Trouble in Toyland, the definitive annual survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, identified numerous toxic toys out there that create choking or strangulation hazards, are too loud, or present other dangers.
In recent years, traditional toys like stuffed animals, games, race tracks and building sets have become safer overall thanks to tougher laws that were adopted in 2008, as well as more oversight. The safety issues that persist and are still a priority include:
- Water beads, which are often used as sensory toys. These tiny, squishy balls can still be deadly.
- The online retailers that pose an ongoing risk by continuing to sell recalled toys in violation of the federal law.
- Ongoing threats from high-powered magnets, button batteries, choking hazards, counterfeit toys, and inadequate warning labels.
Common Sense Safety Tips for Buying Toys
It goes without saying that you should always heed the age limits of toys, buy from reputable sellers and read reviews before you make a purchase. If you aren’t sure if a toy is safe, leave it on the shelf!
Here are some common sense safety tips and resources you can use to prevent toy injuries and keep the magic of the holidays alive throughout the year:
- Choking is the leading cause of toy-related deaths.
If a toy can pass through a standard toilet paper tube, it is unsafe for a child who still puts things in their mouth. Toys with small parts intended for children between ages 3 and 6 must include an explicit choking hazard warning.
- Magnets can look like candy.
Small, powerful magnets can easily fall out of toys and look like shiny candy. Swallow more than one, and the magnets attach inside the body, causing life-threatening complications.
- Batteries can be fatal.
Keep watch or “button” batteries away from children. If swallowed, the battery acid can cause fatal internal injuries.
- Toxic chemicals can still be found in toys.
Dangerous levels of lead and other toxic chemicals can still be found in older toys and those not made in the United States. Steer clear of toys made of PVC plastic, soft vinyl lunch boxes and bibs, and children’s costume jewelry – especially jewelry and other toys that can be swallowed.
- If it’s too loud for you, it’s too loud for them.
Children’s ears are very sensitive. Remove the batteries from loud toys or cover the speakers with tape to muffle loud sounds.
It’s Up to Us to Keep Kids Safe
We can always count on children to remind us of the true joy associated with the holiday season. So it’s up to us – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and family – to keep that spirit alive by selecting safe toys for the kids in our lives. Report dangerous toys (or other products) or learn if a product is unsafe before you purchase it.
If your child has had a toy-related injury and you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.