Hidden Toy Dangers Parents Need to Know
As the holidays roll in, so will the toys. When purchasing new items as gifts, it is crucial to recognize potential safety issues. Here are some hidden toy dangers that parents need to know about.
Research to Avoid Hidden Toy Dangers
First and foremost, parents should understand that they are not alone when it comes to tracking down potential hidden toy dangers. Organizations like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keep a close eye on potential hazards.
The CPSC monitors and regulates any toys made in, or imported into, the United States. When it comes to research, the CPSC website is an excellent place to start.
Before purchasing a toy, consider some of these guidelines:
- Any toy made from fabric, or with clothing or hair, should be clearly labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- If a toy is painted, be sure that the paint is lead-free. Similarly, all art tools, like crayons or markers, should be labeled as nontoxic.
- Older toys and hand-me-downs may not meet the current safety standards. Consider this before giving or accepting them as gifts.
Keep Toys Age-and-Development-Level Appropriate
Every child is different, so their individual needs and abilities should be carefully considered before each toy is purchased. Put simply, make sure it is appropriate for the child. A toy should match a child’s age level. For example, giving a three-year-old a block set with tons of small parts can be dangerous.
Additionally, make sure the toy isn’t too complicated. Age is a great general guide for appropriateness, but children can also vary in developmental ability. Before clicking the “buy” button, consider what a little one is currently learning – are they working on their fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination? How about counting or learning the alphabet? Thinking ahead can help buyers make the right choice.
Beware of Strangulation and Choking Hazards
Next, one of parents’ biggest nightmares will always be their child choking on a toy. In fact, this is a serious problem. Every year, many children are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. Choking is a greater risk for kids aged three or younger. Kids of this age tend to put objects in their mouths. It’s part of their development, but it can obviously become a hidden toy danger.
For young kids, be sure to remove any ribbons, strings or cords before letting your little one play with a toy. Similarly, avoid giving necklaces until a child is a bit older. All of these hanging threads can pose a strangulation risk.
Check for Toy Recalls
Last but definitely not least, keep an eye on possible product recalls and safety warnings. The worst hidden toy dangers are the ones you might not even realize are there.Now, on this Child Safety Blog we often highlight critical product recalls that pose an immediate threat. Unfortunately, there will always be more than we can report. For further information, keep an eye on both the CPSC website and on Recalls.gov. Both offer valuable information and details about any products and toys that have been recalled for safety reasons.