Even while engaged in their favorite activity, playing, kids can be injured. Falls and choking account for the majority of toy-related death and injuries. Latex balloons account for the most choking deaths of children, while riding toys and scooters are associated with more injuries than any other product. Children can also suffer from strangulation, burns, drowning and poisoning while playing with toys. Most recently, there have been dozens of recalls for toys tainted with lead paint.
Here’s what parents can do to keep their children safe.
- Use the Annual Survey of Toy Safety, created by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, to choose safe toys and avoid recalled ones when choosing holiday gifts.
- Consider your child’s age, interests and skill level when selecting toys. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for age and safety on the toy’s label
- Keep toys separated by age level to keep small parts away from younger children
- Inspect your child’s toys regularly for damage
- To keep current with lead and other toy recalls, sign up for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall list
- Purchase a small parts tester to determine if any toys pose a choking hazard to your children under 3
- Use mylar balloons instead of latex
- Do not purchase toys with strings, straps or cords longer than seven inches as they can unintentionally strangle children
- Avoid toys with a heating element for children under 8
- Make sure to use riding toys away from stairs, traffic or swimming pools
- Require that children riding on scooters wear proper protective equipment like helmets and elbow/knee pads