Tuesday, December 13, 2016

T is for Toys: What to Know Before Buying Them

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Toys

Each year many children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Even innocent-looking toys such as marbles and balloons can present a hazard to small children. The National Safe Kids Campaign recommends avoiding the following when choosing toys:

·      Toys with small removable parts. Small parts are hazardous and can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a small-parts tester (which can be purchased at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy or part. If the piece fits entirely inside the tube, then it is considered a choking hazard.

·      Toys with sharp points or edges. Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.

·      Toys that produce loud noises. Toy guns, high-volume music players and other loud toys can permanently impair a child’s hearing. Many toys have decibel levels high enough to cause hearing loss.

·      Toy darts and other projectiles. Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.

·      Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. Long strings and cord could wrap around a child’s neck and unintentionally strangle him or her.

·      Electrical toys. Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Avoid toys with a heating element, including batteries and electrical plugs, for children under age 8.

·      Toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system. If the toy is a family heirloom, be sure the paint is safe. In addition, toys manufactured in other countries may also contain lead paint. Lead testing kits are available at hardware and baby supply stores.

·      Toy cap guns. Aside from potentially encouraging violent play, paper roll, strip or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.

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Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved