Everyone is responsible for protecting children from unsafe toys. Careful selection of toys and proper supervision of children at play is the best way to protect children from toy-related injuries
Think Toy Safety:
When buying toys
Choose toys for your child very carefully. It is very important to keep in mind when buying a toy; children’s age, skill level, interests, quality design, and construction. Make sure that all directions or instructions are clear—to you and, when appropriate, to the child. Plastic wraps on toys should be discarded immediately before becoming lethal toys. Be a label reader. Look for and heed age recommendations, such as “Not recommended for children under three.” Look for other safety labels including: “Flame retardant/Flame resistant” on fabric products and “Washable/hygienic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.
When maintaining toys
All toys break down over time and can be a danger to the child. A damaged or dangerous toy should be immediately thrown away or repaired. The edges on wooden toys that could become sharp or the surface covered with sequins should be smooth. Regularly inspect all toys outdoors for rust or weak parts that can become dangerous.
When storing toys
Learn children to put their toys on shelves or in a toy chest after playing to prevent trips and falls. Toy boxes should also be checked for safety. Look out for sharp edges that could intersect and hinges that could be pinched or pinched. See that toys used outdoors are stored after play – rain or dew can rust or damage various toys and toy parts, which creates dangers. Use a toy chest that has a lid that will remain open in any position it is raised in and will not suddenly fall on the child. For added security, be sure there are fresh air vents.
New toys intended for children under eight years of age should be free of sharp glass and metal edges. With use, however, older toys may break, exposing cutting edges.
Cords And Strings
Toys with long cords or strings are unsafe for newborns and very young children. The cables can be wrapped around the baby’s neck, causing strangulation. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops, or ribbons in cribs or playpens where children can become entangled. Remove the cribs from the cribs when the child can be raised on his or her hands and knees; some children have strangled when they fell across crib gyms stretched across the crib.
Missiles – guided missiles and similar flying toys – can be converted into weapons and can particularly hurt the eyes. Children should never be allowed to play with sports equipment that has sharp points. Arrows used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips to prevent injury. Make sure the tips are safe. Avoid those rifles or other toys that could fire objects that are not intended for use in a toy such as pencils.
Electric toys must meet liable requirements for maximum surface temperatures, electrical construction and posted warning labels. Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old. Children should be taught to use electric toys properly, cautiously and under adult supervision.
The law bans small parts in toys intended for children under three. This includes removable small eyes and noses on stuffed toys and dolls, and small, removable squeakers on squeeze toys.
Toys which have been broken may have dangerous points or prongs. Stuffed toys may have wires inside the toy which could cut or stab if exposed. A CPSC regulation prohibits sharp points in new toys and other articles intended for use by children under eight years of age.
All Toys Are Not For All Children
Keep toys designed for older children out of the hands of little ones. Follow labels that give age recommendations some toys are recommended for older children because they may be hazardous in the hands of a younger child. Teach older children to help keep their toys away from younger brothers and sisters. Even balloons, when uninflated or broken, can choke or suffocate if young children try to swallow them. More children have suffocated on uninflated balloons and pieces of broken balloons than on any other type of toy.
Infant toys, such as rattles, squeeze toys, and teethers, should be large enough so that they cannot enter and become lodged in an infant’s throat.
Toy caps and some noise-making guns and other toys can produce sounds at noise levels that can damage hearing. Do not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not use indoors.
CARING FOR TOYS
• Examine toys periodically for broken pieces, sharp edges or other damage.
• Teach children to put away toys when finished playing.
• Store outdoor toys inside after use.
• Many toys require adults to teach children about safe usage. For instance, scooters, bikes, trikes and other wheeled toys should only be used if the rider is wearing a safety helmet.
Toys and play equipment provide invaluable learning experiences for children. With proper selection, care and supervision, adults can give children safe play experiences.
CPSC Publication 281: For Kids’ Sake – Think Toy Safety