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There are thousands and thousands of toys out there, but do you know which ones are safe for your children?  That is a question many of us parents ask ourselves everyday (especially when you have boys!).   It is horrible to read that in 2002, more than 212,000 children in the United States were treated in the hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries.  13 of those kids died.

When buying toys for your kids or other peoples children, Consider these additional statistics from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

  • Falls and choking cause most toy-related deaths and injuries in children. Choking alone causes one third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account for almost half of all toy-related injuries and almost all deaths.
  • Children younger than age 3 are at the greatest risk of choking because they tend to put objects – especially toys – in their mouths.
  • Riding toys – including bicycles and scooters – cause many injuries in children.

Do you know what toys are safe for your child? Toy manufacturers do follow certain guidelines and label most new toys for specific age groups. But perhaps the most important thing you can do – beyond reading labels and inspecting toys carefully – is to supervise your child during play.

Making childrens toys safe has been going on for over 70 years.  Noone wants a child to be injured by something that they love to play with.  So, In 1973, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in order to closely monitor and regulate toys. Any toys made in the US or transported to the US, will have to comply with the CPSC’s Child Safely Protection Act.

Now, Childrens toys go through over 100 tests to make sure they will not harm your child.  The safety proceduces put myself and many other mothers at ease. For further safety measures, look out for the following things:

  • Avoid buying toys intended for older children that may have small parts and pose a choking hazard. Make sure squeeze toys, rattles, and teethers are large enough – even if squeezed down into a smaller, compressed shape – to avoid becoming lodged in your baby’s mouth or throat.
  • Regularly inspect your child’s toys to make sure they are not broken or do not have broken seams where small removable parts (such as squeakers in squeeze toys) could be exposed.
  • There are small parts testers, also known as choke tubes, that you can use to determine if any toy or object presents a choking hazard for a child younger than 3 years of age. A choke tube is designed to be about the same diameter as a child’s airway (windpipe). If an object fits inside of the tube tester, then it is too small to be within reach of a young child. Choke tubes can be found in children’s specialty stores.
  • Avoid toys with cords or long strings. These present a strangulation hazard to very young children, as cords or strings can get wrapped around the neck. Never hang a toy around a toddler’s neck. Also, never hang toys with long strings or ribbons in a playpen where children could get entangled in them.
  • Don’t give your child uninflated or broken balloons. Inflated latex balloons present a choking hazard if they pop. Mylar balloons are much less likely to break, but even these can represent a hazard to young children. If you want to use balloons at a child’s party or celebration, don’t let children blow up the balloons themselves, and be sure to deflate and put away all balloons (or dispose of balloon pieces) afterward. Always supervise children while they play with balloons.
  • Avoid marbles, coins, balls, and games with balls that are 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) in diameter or less because they present choking hazards.
  • Avoid walkers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages their usage, as they are a main cause of injuries – especially serious head injuries – from falls down stairs in young children.
  • Avoid thin plastic toys that might break into small pieces and leave jagged edges that could cut your child.
  • When buying art supplies, including crayons and paints, look for the ASTM D-4236 designation on the package. This means the item has been reviewed by an ASTM toxicologist and has been deemed safe for use by children.

For further information, Check the CPSC website. On their site, they have information about toy recalls or you can call their hotline at (800) 638-CPSC to report a toy you think is unsafe.  If you have any doubt about a toy’s safety, do not allow your child to play with it.

Good luck to all you mothers and fathers on the mission to provide a safe environment for your kids. :)

One Response to “Are your Children’s Toys Safe?”

  1. Great article! I have a little girl and am always on the lookout to make sure the toys I am buying for her are the best quality and safe to play with!

    Posted by: Naomi West on on April 10th, 2009 at 3:10 pm.