The holiday season is just around the corner. Children start thinking about what they want from Santa, as parents begin considering how much money they will have to spend, and how best to spend that money on their kids, to give them the most wonderful, magical Christmas.
Safety should be a top priority when parents are trying to decide what Santa will bring. “While toy safety is important year-round, consumers should keep a few important things in mind when considering toys for the children in their families during the frenzied holiday shopping season.” (Consumer Reports)
In November, 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that in 2016, there were 174,100 toy-related ER-treated injuries and 7 deaths involving children under the age of 15.
Do your research before buying toys for the children you love. Here are some safety tips that can help guide your toy gift shopping this holiday season:
1. Look for Age-Appropriate Toys
Check toy labels to make sure they’re age-appropriate for the child. Manufacturers are encouraged by the CPSC to use their Age Determination Guidelines to clearly label toys with accurate age guidelines.
An example is the federal small parts regulations. Parents with small children know that they love to put things in their mouths. These regulations ban toys intended for children under 3 years of age from being small, or having small parts, including pieces that may fall off or break off while a child is playing with it, preventing toys from becoming a choking hazard.
“Per these regulations, a “small part” is defined as anything that fits completely into a test cylinder slightly smaller than a toilet-paper tube, which approximates the size of a fully expanded throat of a child.”
Parents need to pay attention to age-appropriateness when shopping for older children who have younger siblings as well. A toy with small parts may fall into the hands of the smaller sibling. If an older sibling has toys that are dangerous for younger siblings, parents need to supervise play to be sure the smaller children do not have access to these toys.
An example is the fidget spinner, some of which are not safe for younger children, since they have small parts that could break off and be a choking hazard.
2. Avoid Toys With Unsafe Lead Levels
Some fidget spinners are also dangerous because they contain dangerous levels of lead (over the federal legal limit of 100 parts per million for children’s products). “If you are considering buying a fidget spinner for your child, you should only buy one that is intended for use by children-those that are marked as being suitable for children 12 and younger,” Don Huber, Director of Product Safety for Consumer Reports advises. “These products are required to meet the toy safety standard and will not contain excessive levels of lead and other heavy metals, and phthalates.”
3. Beware of High-Powered Magnets
“According to the federal toy safety standard, a “hazardous magnet” is one that has a flux index (a measure of the force of attraction between the magnets) greater than 50 kG² mm² and that is also a small object.”
These magnets are extremely dangerous if two or more are swallowed and come together in the intestines. This can cause serious injuries or even death.
Parents should avoid all small, high-powered magnets sets when buying for their children. William Wallace, Policy Analyst for Consumers Union said, “We continue to urge companies not to put dangerous products like these on the market and the government to hold them accountable for safety.”
4. Make Sure Riding Toys are Safe and are Used Safely
Riding toys were associated with the most injuries and toy-related deaths, according to the CPSC’s report. Motor vehicles were the cause of all the riding toy fatalities, so it’s important to supervise children to be sure they’re using proper safety measures: not riding on streets with traffic and wearing safety gear (including the proper size helmet).
5. Check for Recalls
The CPSC issued toy recalls for fiscal year 2017. These toys included ones with choking hazards, toys that can catch fire, etc. Check the agency’s list of recalls when researching gift ideas for children.
Keep in mind parents, your job isn’t over after all the gifts are open, and the children are enjoying their new toys. “When bringing new toys into the home, it’s a good idea for parents to engage with their child in play and provide supervision for appropriate, safe play,” Huber advises.
If your child or loved one has been injured by a recalled or defective toy, please schedule a free consultation with experienced product defect attorney David L. Hood by calling (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.
We know how difficult it can be to deal with the effects of product defect-related injuries and the untold pain and suffering they cause — especially when children are the victims. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to protect your rights and make things simple for you and your family so you can focus on healing. After a free case evaluation, product liability attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put years of experience to work for you!
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