Toys are meant to bring joy to children around the holidays, but sometimes they can be associated with unexpected dangers, especially with very young children. Not all children will play with toys the same way, so it is hard to predict what incidents might occur. Most toy related injuries and deaths can be avoided with proper caregiver judgement and supervision, though sometimes surprising defects can present during normal use.
Many toys on the shelves today are tested and labeled for specific age groups as a result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Federal toy safety laws are still fairly new and didn’t exist until 2008, though many toy companies and independent organizations have routinely tested toys for safety prior to the new laws. For more information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act visit their website.
Here are some tips to avoid toy injuries during this holiday season:
1. Remove the plastic packaging as soon as possible and recycle or dispose of it where children and pets cannot reach it.
2. Inspect new toys for small parts. These small parts may be choking hazards for young children.
3. Be a label reader – these labels have recommendation for ages and will let you know about other safety information about flammability, and washing instructions.
4. Balloons are especially dangerous if swallowed. Keep them away from children under 8-years-old.
5. Make sure safety gear are part of the gift. Safety gear should fit correctly and be worn properly every time when riding or skating.
6. Supervise play for children under 8 on any riding toy.
7. Small, powerful magnets are especially dangerous to children if swallowed. The not only block intestines, but they may attract other magnets and tear the intestines. Seek immediate medical attention.
8. Store toys for safety. Tripping or falling over or on toys causes significant household injuries. Storing toys appropriately also helps to maintain them and protect them from rust or other wear that may make them dysfunctional.
If your child has been seriously harmed by a defective toy, you may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer to learn what your options are. In the meantime, we advise that all caregivers of young children continuously monitor for toy recalls and respond accordingly.