Enjoying the Fun with Safety in Mind: A Guide to Toys
Shopping for toys can be exciting and fun, but frustrating. There are thousands of toys to choose from and it’s important to choose the right toy for the right age. For example, toys that are meant for older children can be dangerous for younger children. You can help prevent toy-related injuries by being safety conscious when it comes to toys.
Reading Toy Labels
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 120,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year. Avoid a trip to the emergency room by reading and following all toy labels. They require labels to be placed on all toys marketed for children ages 3 to 6, especially if the toys pose choking hazards to children younger than age 3. These labels tell consumers two critical things: a toy is not safe for younger children and why it is not safe.
Choosing Appropriate Toys
The following tips will help you choose appropriate toys:
- 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.
- Avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard for infants, toddlers and all children who still mouth objects.
- Avoid toys that have sharp edges for all children under 8 years old.
- Toys with heating elements are not for children under 8 years old.
- 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.
- Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, which can cause suffocation.