For those who are shopping for toddlers this Christmas, there are many safety factors to keep in mind. The national news last week issued warnings to keep child safety foremost when considering what toys to purchase. Choking is the #1 cause of toy-related deaths and injuries, according to a report made by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in its 24th annual “Trouble in Toyland”.
Their organization focuses on four types of hazards:
- Loud toys that can cause hearing damage; toys that are close to the ears shouldn’t be more than 65 decibels.
- Lead-tainted toys;
- Plastic toys that contain chemicals call phthalates;
- Small parts that can choke youngsters under age 3. If a toy can fit in a toilet paper tube, it is too small for children under age 3.
In 2009, 5.3 million toys were pulled from store shelves due to choking hazards. In the past two years, 13 children nationally died due to choking. Toys with magnets are also unsafe.
Chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inez Tenenbaum, stated that parents should be more confident that toys are safer this year than in the past, because the government is enforcing the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, passed earlier this year. The Toy Industry Association reports that they are pleased to be working with these two groups and agrees that toys should be safer this year than ever.
When it comes to all children, we can’t be too cautious. From toys to cribs, (some drop-side types that have been recalled due to suffocation), it pays for parents and grandparents to go to the CPSC website (cpsc.gov) or other sites that list toys and children’s products that have been recalled. It is truly amazing how many items that children wear or play with can be so dangerous, and have been recalled.
One example is children’s sweatshirts with drawstrings. A small child was strangled when the drawstring got hung on playground equipment. For tots under age 3, it is recommended that the strings be removed.
For all of Santa’s helpers, please keep safety in mind!