There is a lot to love about toys. They bring joy to our children and can help inspire imagination and learning. However, despite their brightly colored packages and gift-giving nature, children may be at risk from the hidden hazards of some toys. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates tens of thousands of toy-related injuries each year. Many of these injuries can be prevented with proper precaution and knowledge.
If you’re a parent reading this, I’m sure you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from injury while they are having fun. Our blog post will help you find out how to protect your child and what you should be wary of when purchasing toys for your children.
Toys should be safe for kids to play with. You must inspect toys before giving them to your child to check for potential dangers. Here are the hazards you need to look out for.
Watch out for toy choking hazards! Any small object may pose a choking hazard for a toddler who puts things in his mouth as he learns to explore the world around him. Many toys contain small pieces that can be pulled apart and swallowed or block a child’s airway if inhaled. Other times, it can be simple household items too. For example, buttons and beads from clothing, coins, bottle caps, marbles, deflated balloons, paper clips, sewing needles, and pins. To avoid these hazards, keep small objects in a place where they can’t reach them.
The size of the toy is also an important consideration. Smaller-sized toys pose greater threats to younger children since their smaller airways can easily become blocked by toys that fit entirely within their mouth. Children under three years of age should not be given toys smaller than 1 ½ inch wide by 2 inches long by 1 inch thick (4 cm x 5 cm x 2 cm).
Toys with sharp edges and pointed tips are a hazard to children under three years. This is because young children don’t understand that these sharp objects are not toys. They may try to eat them, stick them in their ears or noses, or throw them at another child. Even items you think are safe, such as wooden blocks, can cause cuts and lacerations if broken or misused. Check all items for sharp edges and replace them immediately.
Long strings and cords can be hazardous for very young children and infants. These can wind up wrapped around an infant’s neck, causing strangulation. Don’t leave toys with dangling strings, loops, ribbons, or cords in playpens or cribs where children could get tangled. In addition, plastic bags can cause suffocation, so keep them out of reach. Throw away any plastic packaging your child’s toys come in right away.
Toys with battery functions should have secure battery covers with screws to prevent children from removing the batteries. Lithium batteries, battery fluids, and magnets can cause internal bleeding, choking, and chemical burns.
Many toys make loud sounds or shrill noises that can hurt your child’s hearing. While most toys are labeled with warnings about loud sounds, many of them produce louder sounds than what is recommended for children. Toy guns, for example, may sound like real guns at close range. When shopping for toys, check the volume or decibel level of the sound they make.
Children can get lead poisoning from chewing on lead-containing toys. Lead poisoning can permanently affect a child’s development, behavior, and learning ability if exposed to lead poisoning. You may find lead in the paint, metal, and plastic components in some toys and jewelry, especially those made overseas and antique toys.
No one can guarantee that a toy will be free of hazards, but the point here is to do your due diligence so you can make a better decision about what’s best for your family.
Always check the labels on toys that you buy for your child. The labels provide important information about the chemicals and materials in the toy. Toys made of non-toxic materials are the ones you should only buy. In addition, if a toy has been recalled, don’t buy it even if you find it at discounted rates. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If you want to learn about recalls related to lead paint or other hazards associated with manufacturers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s website or Recalls.gov are great resources.
Toys should be developmentally appropriate and chosen based on age-appropriate labeling. For example, children younger than three years old should not be left alone with toys with small parts or choking hazards. An excellent way to determine whether a toy is large enough is to use a small-object choking tester. Crayons and other art materials must have “non-toxic” and “ASTM D-4236” labels on the package. It means the American Society for Testing and Materials has tested them for safety.
Whenever possible, it is best to supervise children when playing with toys. If your child has special needs, such as being at risk of injury from falling down the stairs or running into streets, you will need to take even greater precautions to provide supervision and protection against injuries and accidents.
Check the toy’s construction before purchase. Look for loose or detached pieces, and make sure large pieces will not pull apart from the toy during play. Also, check for sharp edges and points that could injure others if the toy is used as a weapon. It’s easy to spot toys with sharp edges, such as those made of wood, plastic, or metal. Just run your hands along the toy and feel for any rough points or sharp corners.
Regularly inspect toys for signs of wear and tear. You should either throw away or repair a damaged toy immediately. Furthermore, remind children to put their toys away after playing to avoid trips or falls. You must check storage areas too! Choose a toy chest that stays open regardless of its position so that it won’t fall on a child.
Do not buy toys with projectiles such as rockets or missiles that could cause eye injuries. Avoid toys that resemble real weapons too. Some children may mistake a real weapon for a toy gun or toy knife. Toy swords and bows are never suitable toys for toddlers because they can cause injury to children and adults alike.
One more thing is if you want to make sure that your child will only use safe toys, you should steer clear of second hand toys purchased through online auctions and thrift stores. Old hand-me-down toys are also not recommended as you don’t know if the material is safe and non-toxic.
Parents play a vital role in keeping their children safe from toy dangers. Toys can be an essential part of your child’s development and fun, but they also can be dangerous if not used properly. We hope the tips in this blog will help you avoid toy hazards! Get in touch with CMCFresno for more tips and information about child care. We provide the best child care in Fresno, CA. Call (559) 455-1500 or schedule an appointment online.