When you’re choosing toys and gear, especially for young babies and toddlers, you have to be very mindful of safety. There are a lot of hidden risks in even seemingly safe items.
For older kids, while the risks may be lessened, there’s still a lot to think about as far as safety.
There are plenty of items that were at one point popular or may even be on the market currently that are also known to have safety risks.
Hoverboards are an example. Hoverboards have been known to explode and start fires, despite being one of 2015’s most in-demand Christmas gifts.
After their debut in 2015, these self-balancing two-wheel boards were the subject of scrutiny. Reports began revealing that the motorized boards were prone to overheating, causing not only fires but also potential burns. There have been hundreds of these incidents reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The older models are especially at risk.
Even outside of the fire risk, hoverboards have other inherent dangers. For example, they’re hard to balance on, leading to falls that can result in injuries like broken bones.
With this in mind, the following are some things parents, grandparents, and other loved ones should generally know about safe toys for children.
Dangerous Things to Watch Out For
When you’re choosing children’s toys and other items they do have to adhere to federal toy safety standards, yet dangerous things find their way to shelves inevitably every year.
Some of the things that you should generally watch out for include:
- Sharp edges
- Pointy pieces
- Small, detachable pieces that could be a choking hazard
- Anything with a long string or cord
- Toys made of flammable materials
- Toys with a high noise or volume level that could be damaging to hearing
- Anything made with high-powered magnets
- Items with projectiles or shooting abilities
- Products made of potentially toxic materials like PVC plastic, xylene, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene
Before you buy a toy or let your child play with anything new, you should make sure you read the label and packaging carefully. It should be age-appropriate, along with not having any of the above features.
Whenever your child is playing, you should carefully supervise.
You can visit the website www.recalls.gov to make sure there aren’t any recalls for a toy before you let your child play with it.
Using Toys Safely
There have been millions of injuries in the past two decades because of toys. The incidence of these injuries has gone up by 40% over the years. Most toys are safe, of course, but some are simply not well made. They can also be a hazard if your child uses them outside of how they’re meant to be.
For children five and under, the most significant risk is choking when children eat small parts. Older kids often tend to be injured because of power toys, like motorized cars, scooters and bikes.
Again, any toy your child uses should be age-appropriate.
For younger children, make sure there’s nothing that could potentially come loose and be a choking danger.
Check online for the latest toy recalls, and if you buy your child anything like a bike or scooter with a fall hazard, make sure they wear the proper safety equipment at all times.
Toys for Toddlers and Infants Younger Than Three
- Children under three again do have a tendency to put things in their mouths, so be very cautious about any small parts. You can use a no-choke testing tube to determine if something is too small. These tubes simulate your child’s throat size and shape, and if something can fit inside it, you should not let your child play with it.
- Avoid balls, games with balls, and marbles.
- Don’t buy toys with magnets or magnetic pieces that can be swallowed. If a young child swallows multiple magnets, they can connect and cause severe internal issues like intestinal blockages.
- Make sure when you’re choosing toys that are for this age group that they are tight and well-made. For example, kids tend to pull and twist their toys, so make sure everything that’s part of the toy is well-secured.
For preschool-aged children, remember the following safety tips as you choose items:
- Don’t choose toys with sharp points or edges
- Avoid things that are made with thin or brittle plastic that could break or create sharp edges.
- If you’re choosing arts and crafts supplies, looking for options marked with ASTM D-4236. This designation means a toxicologist reviews the item.
- Continue avoiding items with magnets.
For older kids, you should teach them to wear safety equipment if needed and keep their toys away from young siblings and children.
If you buy a toy gun, make sure that it’s a bright color and looks distinctive enough that you can easily tell it’s not a real gun.
Other general safety tips to remember are:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the home use of trampolines.
- Regularly check your kids’ toys and make sure they aren’t chipped or broken. If anything is damaged, you should probably throw it away.
- Teach your kids not to put toys in their mouths.
- Teach children from an early age to put items away when they’re finished with them so that younger siblings can’t access them.
- Bikes and outdoor toys shouldn’t have rust. Outdoor toys should also be stored out of the elements when not being used.
- Wooden toys shouldn’t have splinters.
- Keep toys clean, regularly washing them with antibacterial soap.
Toys can present a significant danger to kids, but they don’t have to. By checking reviews and recall information, supervising kids whenever they’re playing, and choosing age-appropriate items, you can reduce these risks and have some peace of mind about playtime.
If you’re ever in doubt, it’s probably best not to buy the item.