Holiday Toy Safety

Monday, December 10, 2012

As the holidays approach, parents and caregivers should be mindful of the gifts they provide for their children. With hundreds of thousands of toys on the market, it’s not easy to ensure that you’re always buying a safe product. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website should be checked often to make sure toys have not been recalled for any reason, and reading the packaging on the toy before purchase to check for any potential hazards is also important for a child’s safety.

Some concerns that parents should be cautious of this holiday season are choking, strangulation, noise, and lead content. A number of toys include small pieces that children can choke on or cords that can be deadly if wrapped around the neck. Parents should remove any loose or dangling parts from a toy before presenting it to a child, and put those parts out of the child’s reach. Parents should ensure that toys are not too loud for small children, as their ears are very sensitive and loud noises could potentially cause long tern hearing damage. The threat of lead exposure has always been a factor when purchasing toys for children. If buying art supplies, such as crayons and paint, the product labels should be read to guarantee they have been approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Toys are supposed to be fun and are an important part of every child’s development. They should reflect the child’s skill level as well as be age appropriate. Most toys have an age level printed on the box that can help parents or caregivers determine if it would be suitable for their particular child. A child’s habits, such as putting things in their mouths, should also be considered.

Think age-appropriately in terms of electronic games as well. There are some games on the market that are not only graphically violent, but also include very graphic scenes of a sexual nature. Be sure to read warning labels and game ratings, but also remember to ask questions about the game’s content so that your child can be protected. We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season!

U.S. Product Safety Commission