This time of year parents can expect to hear daily about the latest toys to make our children’s wishlists for the holidays. While toys are important to encourage our children to play and imagine as they grow, we parents have a responsibility to make sure that we are only providing our children with the safest toys available. It is easy to assume that all toys on the market are safe, but unfortunately this is not always true. In fact, a child is treated in the emergency room every three minutes in the U.S. because of injuries sustained while playing with a toy.
Although some of these injuries are caused by unavoidable accidents, some are also caused by defective or unsafe toys. As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe from these types of toys as much as possible. To make holiday toy shopping a bit easier, follow these tips to help ensure that you only get your child safe toys.
- Follow age recommendations for all toys. While it may be tempting to buy a your child a toy that they really want that is just a few years out of the recommended guidelines, it is best to always adhere to the governmentally suggested standards printed on every toy’s box. The age recommendations set by manufacturers consider potential choking hazards as well as appropriateness according to children’s developmental stages and exist for a reason.
- Purchase toys at trustworthy stores or outlets. This is especially true when you buy a toy online.
- Make sure to buy a helmet to go with every riding toy. All safety gear is key to go along with any riding toys, such as scooters or bikes. Starting out with proper equipment encourages safer behaviors.
- Choose wooden toys over plastic toys whenever possible. While wood toys can cost more, they are generally considered to be safer. Wooden toys are more durable, less toxic, and better for the environment. Plus, they better encourage play that stimulates your child’s brain development. This is not to say that no plastic toys are safe, but simply that you may be better off considering a wood option.
- Stay away from all toys with strings longer than 30 cm for young children. These can wrap around their necks and serve as a strangulation hazard.
- Be careful of choking hazards for young children, especially babies and toddlers. Choking on small toys or small parts of larger toys is the biggest risk posed by toys for children under three. In fact, an average of 14 children a day are treated for an injury related to swallowing of inhaling a part of a toy. Make sure no toys for young children have small parts that could break off and become a choking hazard.
- Avoid toys with magnets for smaller children. If a magnet is swallowed, it can do serious damage to internal organs.
- Check that the battery compartment for the toy is secure. Batteries can be very toxic if swallowed, so make sure children cannot get the batteries out without parental supervision. Only buy toys with battery compartments that have to be opened with a screwdriver or that include a child-resistant lock.
- Double check that the toys are non-toxic and have not sharp edges.
- Be wary of toys that make loud noises. Not only can these toys annoy parents, but they can also damage your child’s hearing. Children are unlikely to notice a toy is too loud until it is too late.
- Projectile toys such as darts should have soft tips. Otherwise your child could hurt themselves or others.
- Make sure that any toys that require supervision are kept away from the child when you cannot watch them. Better yet, choose a toy that requires no supervision to be safe.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and Recalls.gov to make sure toys have not been recalled before purchasing a toy. It is also a great resource to check that old toys are still considered safe.
If you follow all these guidelines when shopping this holiday season, you are much more likely to make sure your children’s new toys are safe.
Unfortunately, there is no way to 100 percent avoid all toy-related injuries. Some accidents will inevitably happen. However, there is no excuse for manufacturers who release unsafe toys. If your child is hurt by a defective or recalled toy, contact us at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to see if you deserve compensation for your child’s injuries, pain, or suffering. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney.