Child Safety: Risks & Tips With Holiday Toys

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By Marcus Fernandez

If you want to remain popular with the children on your holiday gift, you’ll shop for toys. The challenge is finding toys kids want while avoiding anything that could hurt them. It’s not as easy as you think.

A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on toy-related injuries and deaths highlights the need to be safety conscious when buying them for children. The CPSC reported 145,500 injuries to children aged 12 and younger from toys that required treatment at a hospital emergency department and 11 deaths. 

This blog post explains how to identify hazards posed by toys sold during the holidays that may look safe, but you’ll learn that looks can be deceiving when shopping for gifts for children. It includes tips for choosing which one’s children can safely play with and enjoy.  

Common risks and hazards posed by children’s toys

The challenge when shopping for a toy for a child is that hazards may not be obvious. Some of the common dangers include:

  • Choking hazards caused by small toys or components of larger toys.
  • Burns and poisoning injuries caused by toxic or flammable substances and materials.
  • Strangulation from cords, ropes, belts, and strings.
  • Burns and electric shock caused by electric or battery-operated toys.
  • Suffocation hazards for infants and toddlers posed by pillows and plush.
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations caused by sharp surfaces or pointy components.

Adult shoppers need to be diligent because hazards can be difficult to see. For example, a doll that speaks and moves its arms may not look like a choking hazard until you realize that batteries provide the power to operate it. Batteries can become a choking hazard in households where small children may put them in their mouths. 

Choosing safe toys as holiday gifts for children

Buying for children would be easy if dangerous items did not make their way into the marketplace for sale to the public. This year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, working with the CPSC, seized 1.1 million toys that failed to meet federal safety standards. The seizures included more than 100,000 toys containing lead, which is toxic to children. 

Tips to help you choose safe toys for children include the following:

  • Select age-appropriate toys: Read the packaging it comes in and pay attention to the manufacturer’s age recommendation. Buy those that match the child’s age, interest, and abilities for whom they are intended.
  • Match toy size to the child: Do not give infants and young children small toys or toys containing small parts that can be choking hazards. Avoid games with dice, marbles, and other small parts for households with small children who could choke on them.
  • Look for secure battery compartments: Many toys for children require batteries, but you can find safe ones by checking the battery compartment before buying a toy. A battery compartment secured by screws and needing a tool to open prevents young children from accessing the batteries and swallowing them.
  • Read the labels: Labels on packaging may include a certification that the toy meets safety standards based on an evaluation by an independent testing organization.

If buying a bicycle, skates, skateboard, or scooter for a child, include the necessary safety equipment, such as a helmet, gloves, and protective gear for knees, wrists, and elbows.

Where you buy toys can make a difference. The CPSC recommends buying from reputable retailers willing to stand behind the products they sell with returns or exchanges. It also suggests that buyers check for product recalls at the CPSC website, particularly when buying used toys or those sold by a third-party online reseller.

Get help from a Tampa personal injury lawyer

When a defective or dangerous toy or other consumer products causes a person to be injured, the personal injury lawyers at KFB Law can help. The manufacturers and sellers of products that cause injuries can be liable and compelled to compensate the victims. Learn more from a Tampa personal injury lawyer during a free consultation by contacting KFB Law today.