Toy SafetyBy now most people have heard that children need to wear helmets when they ride bikes and that parents must avoid giving toys with small or sharp objects to their young children. You might be surprised, however, by which toys lead to the greatest number of deaths, injuries, and recalls. Just because a toy is on the market, does not mean that it is safe for your child. You may think your child is mature or smart enough to play with toys from an older age group, but age guidelines are there for a reason.To be sure your child’s toys are safe and age appropriate, the Consumer Product Safety Commission lists recalls on its website at www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/. Sometimes the toys themselves are not the only hazard. The toy’s packaging or storage containers can also pose a risk to your child. In addition to staying up to-date with recalls, be sure to look out for these unexpected hazards.
- Balloons: Balloons may be bright and cheery decorations for parties, but they are the leading product that causes suffocation death to children. Supervise your children when they are around balloons and keep un-inflated or broken balloons out of reach of children. For more information, see http://www.stlouischildrens.org/articles/wellness/the-dangers-latex-balloons-goodfun-gone-wrong
- Magnets: Powerful magnets in children’s toys, faux jewelry, and parents’ desk toys have the ability to attract each other through intestinal walls, causing holes, intestinal blockage and even death. Find more information about magnet toy recalls and how to prevent injury from magnets at http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/pages/DangersofMagnetic-Toys-and-Fake-Piercings.aspx
- Button batteries: These small coin-sized batteries are in many products around our homes, even in toys and electronic storybooks. When swallowed, they can cause serious damage or death within 2 hours. Keep devices with button batteries out of reach of your children and make sure battery compartments are secure. Learn more about button battery-related injuries at www.thebatterycontrolled.com.
- Plastic film: Plastic film coverings that are used to protect toys from getting scratched are a choking hazard for children. This danger is easy to overlook when thinking about toy safety because it is part of the packaging, not the toy. Remove any plastic film before letting your child play with a product. http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/122502/5220.pdf
- Toy Chest Lids:Containers used for toy storage can actually pose a risk to children as well. Children can be hit by the lid which could lead to death or permanent brain damage.The lid can also fall and trap the child inside, causing fatal suffocation. Lookat your child’s toy chest lid. If it is freely falling and hinged remove the lid completely. You can find out more prevention tips at http://www.kidsindanger.org/product-hazards/toy-chests
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