As the presents are being opened at Christmas, if you have small children in the house, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges gift-givers to keep safety in mind when choosing and opening toys for young children.
The CPSC estimates that more than 120,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year. Here are the details from the CPSC:
“Toys are an important part of holiday gift-giving, and CPSC is on the job 365 days a year to make sure toys are as safe as possible,” said CPSC chairman Ann Brown. “CPSC’s goal is to prevent deaths and injuries; unfortunately, each year some children are hurt by toys. By always reading labels and being safety conscious, parents and caregivers can help prevent toy-related injuries.”
CPSC requires labels to be on all toys marketed for children from three to six years old if the toys pose a choking hazard to children under age three. These labels tell consumers two critical things: that a toy is not safe for younger children and why it is not safe. Before CPSC issued these labeling requirements, it was more difficult for consumers to know that certain toys they bought for older children could be a danger to younger kids. CPSC has the most stringent toy-safety standards in the world, and toys on store shelves are safer because of the day-to-day compliance work by CPSC.
Evaluating Toys When they are Opened or Purchased
Parents and gift-givers can help prevent toy-related injuries and deaths by always reading labels and being safety conscious. The following tips will help you choose appropriate toys this holiday season — and all year round:
- Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
- For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
- For all children under age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
- Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight.
- Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
- Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.
- Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and when appropriate, to the child.
- Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.
By using common sense and these safety suggestions, holiday shoppers can make informed decisions when purchasing or opening toys for children.