Holiday time in Brunswick Crossing is a joyous, happy time, but before you add to that joy with a gift for the children in your life, you need to think about safety. To keep the little ones in your life safe, you'll need to consider the safety of the toy you are planning to give.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy related injuries send more than 250,000 Americans to emergency rooms each year. So what can parents do if their child is wailing for the latest "it" toy when that item may pose a danger? To keep our children safe here are a few things to consider:
The CPSC and Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) recommend these guidelines for selecting a safe toy:
- Select toys to suit the age, skills, abilities, and interest of the individual child. There are age recommendations on many toy packages; these may be used as guidelines for selecting SAFE as well as stimulating, educational toys.
- If supervision is required, be prepared to make that commitment and to set "ground rules" for play.
- Instructions should be clear to you and, when appropriate, to the child.
- Look for sturdy construction. When buying soft toys for young children, make sure you purchase a well-made item with eyes, nose, and any other small parts tightly secured.
- For infants and toddlers, avoid toys with:
--small parts that children may put in their mouths.
--long strings or cords that may cause strangulation.
- Avoid toys that shoot or propel objects that may injure eyes or get lodged in throats.
- Arrows or darts used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips. Check to be sure the tips are securely attached to their shafts. Examine these periodically to insure the protective tips remain secured.
- Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old, and only as long as there is adult supervision. Consider the surroundings in which the toy will be used. Is there sufficient toy storage and play space? Will young children be exposed to toys designed for older children? Remember, younger children in the household may not know how to play with some toys safely.
It is also imperative to carefully check old toys for signs of damage and either repair or discard damaged toys. Just as important when purchasing a gift for a child is what to avoid:
- Ceramic or pottery toys manufactured outside the U.S. and Europe, because of lead dangers. If children drink tea from a ceramic tea set, for example, the lead from the
- Brightly painted toys (wood, plastic, and metal) made in Pacific Rim countries, particularly China, because of lead paint dangers. Parents may even want to shun brightly colored plastic toys made from molds, which have been a problem in previous years. Children mouthing the toys for extended periods can get lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible neurological damage.
- ceramic can leach into the tea.
- Many products from any countries outside the U.S. and Europe. Mexican pottery and candy, for example, have tested for high levels of lead.
- Soft vinyl toys can also contain toxins, including lead.
- Toys with small parts can pose a choking hazard for young children. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age 3 cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
- Pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length, which can be a strangulation hazard for babies.
- Magnetic toys, which can be swallowed by young children.
- All jewelry, especially metal jewelry, for children of all ages. Many jewelry pieces -- even some marked "lead-free" -- have contained dangerous levels of lead.
- Items that contain "phthalates," or toxic chemicals, such as xylene, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and benzene, which can cause health problems in children.
- Toys that are not age-appropriate. Toys intended for older children can harm younger ones. And older children who play with toys intended for younger ones can be injured when, out of boredom, they seek unintended uses for the toys.
Make your Holiday traditions joyous and safe. Happy holidays from Brunswick Crossing!