Toys are made for children, and so we assume them to be safe. In most cases, they are. Yet the sheer amount of time that kids spend playing with toys means that if a safety hazard exists, children are bound to expose it. This information will help parents ensure that playtime for their kids is as safe as possible.
Basic Toy Safety Tips & Guidelines
Toy safety tip #1: Know how to look up toy recalls
When a potential safety problem or manufacturing defect is discovered with a toy, a recall is issued. A searchable database of all recalls can be found at www.CPSC.gov. You can also sign up for e-mail notification of recalls and press releases while you’re there. In addition to recalls, you can check the CPSC’s new incident database, SaferProducts.gov, to see if other parents have reported problems with specific products. Just keep in mind that these are user-submitted problems involving products that typically have NOT been recalled, and these reports have not been verified. Therefore they do not necessarily mean there is a problem with the toy itself – injuries often result because a product is being used in a careless manner. Nonetheless, these consumer reported complaints can still be informative.
Toy safety tip #2: Watch the assembly
Be sure to read all the warning labels and assembly instructions closely when putting together a toy. Assembling a toy incorrectly is a common cause of injury. Loose or incorrectly assembled parts could lead to sharp edges, gaps that pose a strangulation hazard, or other serious problems that lead to injury.
Toy safety tip #3: Monitor the condition of your child’s toys
Broken toys are dangerous because they can create sharp edges, they might become an entrapment hazard, result in small, loose parts, or otherwise create a safety hazard. A large number of serious toy accidents involve broken toys. So be sure to monitor the condition of your child’s toys. The safest option is to throw away and replace any broken toys, but if you do attempt a fix, proceed at your own risk, and only after first considering whether this alteration could conceivably pose a safety hazard.
Toy safety tip #4: Keep toys with small parts away from infants & toddlers
Check balls or other toys intended for children under 3 by seeing if they fit through a toilet paper tube (or a more official choking hazard tube from a child safety kit, if you have one available). If the item fits through, it is small enough to be a potential choking hazard. Make sure that toys intended for children of this age do not have small working parts that could easily break off.