Christmas and Hanukkah play big parts in the winter holidays’ gift giving season. Family members flock to toy shops to buy presents for the children in their lives. Their presents are sure to spread happiness. The sheer delight and excitement on a child’s face as they open it to find a brand new toy is priceless.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns … not every toy is safe. Shoppers are advised that before purchasing toys, they should be mindful of any or all parts or use of the toy that may cause injure or create a dangerous situation for the child.
The Commission offers the following safety tips that may help when choosing appropriate toys for children of any age:
- Choose toys with care. Keep in mind the child’s age, interests and skill level.
- Look for quality design and construction in all toys for all ages. lMake sure that all directions or instructions are clear—to you and, when appropriate, to the child. lPlastic wrappings on toys should be discarded at once before they become deadly playthings.
- Be a label reader. Look for and heed age recommendations, such as “Not recommended for children under three.” Look for other safety labels including: “Flame retardant/Flame resistant” on fabric products and “Washable/hygienic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.
- When maintaining toys: Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. A damaged or dangerous toy should be thrown away or repaired immediately. Edges on wooden toys that might have become sharp or surfaces covered with splinters should be sanded smooth.
- New toys intended for children under eight years of age should be free of sharp glass and metal edges. l The Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act, bans small parts in toys intended for children under three. This includes removable small eyes and noses on stuffed toys and dolls, and small, removable squeakers on squeeze toys.
- Toy caps and some noise-making guns and other toys can produce sounds at noise levels that can damage hearing. Do not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not use indoor cords and strings Toys with long strings or cords are dangerous for infants and very young children.
- The cords can become wrapped around an infant’s neck, causing strangulation. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops, or ribbons in cribs or playpens where children can become entangled.
- Projectiles—guided missiles and similar flying toys—can be turned into weapons and can injure eyes in particular. Children should never be permitted to play with hobby or sporting equipment that has sharp points. Arrows or darts used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips intended to prevent injury.
- Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old. Children should be taught to use electric toys properly, cautiously and under adult supervision.
- All toys are not for all children, teach older children to keep their toys away from younger brothers and sisters. Even Balloons, when uninflated or broken can choke or suffocate if young children try to swallow them.
- Infant toys, such as rattles, squeeze toys, and teethers, should be large enough so that they cannot enter and become lodged in an infant’s throat