There is nothing quite as sweet as the smile on a child’s face when they open a toy. However, be sure those toys are safe. Sadly, instead of joy and laughter, some toys leave behind pain and sadness in their wake. Take the Montero Law Center’s advice and keep this holiday happy and safe for all.
Key considerations in looking at toys include:
- Age appropriateness: Make sure the toy is something that will be safe for the child given his age. All toys should have recommendations for ages on them. Follow those. Toys made for older children may have smaller parts that may be choking hazards. Some content in movies and video games may not be suitable for younger children.
- What type of paint is used: Lead paint is still used on certain toys manufactured in China and can pose a hazard for many children, especially those that still put things in their mouths. There are federally mandated standards for lead paint but the best bet is to look for those that declare themselves lead-free.
- Battery-operated controls: Children are safer with battery-operated toys than those that require they be plugged in, due to the risk of burns and electrical shocks. However, there are warnings in place for the small button-sized batteries found in some toys, greeting cards, and other devices. These batteries as well as small magnets have been swallowed and have caused serious injuries and illnesses.
- Cords, strings, and long fabric ropes can pose a strangling hazard for children. Children can become tangled in the ropes and be severely or fatally injured. Keep string lengths under 12 inches.
- Balloons, plastic bags, and plastic wrap pose a serious risk of suffocation. Remove these materials and make sure that balloons are not left with kids unattended.
- Appropriate protective gear should always be given with toys that are designed for outdoor movement. Helmets should go with bikes, scooters, and other moving objects as well as knee pads and wrist guards where appropriate.
Keep your kids safe. Read the labels, register products, and follow the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s email alerts so that you can find out about any recalls as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, however, no toy is perfectly safe and children can find ways to take things apart that adults may never have conceived. The only way to truly ensure your child’s safety is to supervise them when they are playing. Keep older children’s toys away from younger children as well.