Holiday Toy Safety Tips from the CPSC

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released some safety tips to help prevent toy-related injuries this holiday season.

This past year the CPSC has established new toy safety standards that limit lead content to the lowest levels world-wide, limit phthalates, and setting new testing standards. While these standards have been burdensome to small toy manufacturers, they have dramatically reduced toy recalls a quite a bit (there were 44 in 2010, 50 in 2009, and 172 in 2008.

The CPSC’s "three-pronged safety approach" for parents is:

1. Which Toy for Which Child – Always choose age appropriate toys.

2. Gear Up for Safety – Include safety gear whenever shopping for sports-related gifts or ride-on toys, including bicycles, skates, and scooters.

3. Location, Location, Location – Be aware of your child’s surroundings during play. Young children should avoid playing with ride-on toys near automobile traffic, pools or ponds. They also should avoid playing in indoor areas associated with hazards such as kitchens and bathrooms and in rooms with corded window blinds.

Some other safety tips from the CPSC and other sources are:

For children younger than three, avoid toys with any small parts, which can cause choking if eaten. Keep older sibling’s toys away from small children. Small magnets can be particularly dangerous if ingested, because they can connect across the digestive tract causing blockages.

Immediately discard plastic wrap and other packaging material

Batteries should be charged by adults or supervised by adults with older children. Chargers and adapters can get very hot and pose a burn hazard. Also be sure to monitor charging batteries because some charges do not have the ability to prevent overcharging.

Surprisingly, balloons can be particularly dangerous with small children, who can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken pieces. Discard broken balloons immediately.

Toy caps, noisy guns, Big Bang Cannons, and other similar toys can produce noise at levels that can damage hearing. Be sure to read all directions and warnings and use them only outdoors when cautioned.

Toys that propell projectiles can be turned into weapons by children and can cause eye injury.

Check all toys periodically for breakage, wear, or sharp edges that may be dangerous. Check all electric toys for wear and exposed wires. Throw away all damaged toys immediately.

Lastly, look for quality design and construction in all your toy purchases. This is something that Dave’s Cool Toys is all to familiar with (shameless plug). While parents should certainly evaluate all toy purchases for their children, we have spent much time reviewing each toy we sell prior to offering it for purchase to be sure it is well-built and of quality design and manufacture.

For more information on toy safety check out A Parents’ Guide To Selecting Toys For Infants And Toddlers or Toys That Kill
. And for an interesting look at how Safety concerns have changed childen’s toys, take a look at Good Toys, Bad Toys

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Dave Ference

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