Don’t let your children’s holiday toy wishlist turn scary this year: every 3 minutes, a child is treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury. As you compile your holiday shopping list, take some time to check the list online against reviews and product safety reports. And a good place to start are the seasonal safety reports that various consumer safety groups issue.
The Worst Toys for 2018
The World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) recently released its 10 Worst Toys for 2018 report. They say that, “… toys like the “Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade” and “Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw,” should not be in the hands of children.” This year’s toy report addresses the types of toy hazards available online and in retail stores so parents know what deadly traps to avoid when buying toys. In addition to their press release linked above, check out the slide show with photos so you can recognize the toys, some of which would have strong “kid appeal.”
W.A.T.C.H. offers the following toy safety tips:
Watch out …
- for Toys Marketed On The Internet, without warnings, instructions or age recommendations posted on the website.
- for Battery Operated Toys For Children Under 8 Years Of Age since batteries may leak, overheat and explode.
- for Toys With “Fur” Or “Hair”, including dolls and stuffed animals, that can be ingested and aspirated by oral age children.
- for Toys With Small Removable Attachments at the end of laces and strings (e.g., bells, knobs, etc.).
- for Projectile Toys, including dart guns, sling shots, and pea-shooters which shoot objects and can cause eye injuries and often blindness.
- for Toys With Pointed Tips, And Blunt Or Sharp Edges that could crush, cut or puncture children’s skin.
- for Toys With Strings Longer Than 6 Inches which could strangle small children.for Any Crib Or Playpen Toys which are to be strung across cribs or playpens. This type of toy has resulted in strangulation deaths and injuries.
- for Toys Marketed With Other Product Lines, such as food, clothing, books, cassettes and videos which could have dangerous designs and are often sold with no warnings, instructions or age recommendations.
- for Toys Composed Of Flammable Material which will readily ignite when exposed to heat or flame.
- for Realistic Looking Toy Weapons including guns, dart guns, Ninja weaponry, swords, toy cleavers, knives, and crossbows which promote violence.
- for Toys Which Require Electricity to function and do not have step-down transformers to reduce risk of shock and electrocution.
- for Toys With Small Parts that can be swallowed or aspirated, causing choking.
- for Long Handled Toys For Children Up To 4 Years Of Age due to a tendency of such children to place these toys in their mouths and choke.
- for Toys With Toxic Surfaces Or Components that have the potential to be ingested or cause skin irritations (e.g., some children’s’ play make up kits have components which contain ferrocyanide, a known poison).
CPSC Report for 2018
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also issued a toy safety report for 2018. It says that asphyxiation or choking are two of the most common injury hazards. It is not just important to buy safe toys, it’s also important to supervise children when they use toys. Here are some of their safety tips issued this year, with a few from past years:
- Magnets – Children’s magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that prevents magnets from being swallowed. High-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
- Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard torn balloons immediately.
- Small balls and other toys with small parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Scooters and other riding toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.
- Check the label: Choose age appropriate toys by reading the age label on the toy. Children younger than 3 should not have access to toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also avoid marbles and small balls for children under 3.
- Get safety gear. With scooters and other riding toys, supervision is key along with proper safety gear that includes helmets. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding a scooter on a street or roadway with other motor vehicles.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.