Every year sees many children rushed to the emergency room with toy-related injuries, particularly choking hazards. While many toys are well made and safe for little hands to play with, many are dangerous and should be avoided. With the holiday season upon us, it is important to review safety tips for toy shopping so that any gift you give will be well received and enjoyed by the child for whom it is chosen.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates toy safety standards. Since 1995, any toy imported into or made in the U.S. must comply with these standards. Any toys that have been recalled are listed on the commission’s website. The CPSC also publishes guidelines for buying children’s toys. Using these together with some common sense can be very helpful when choosing a toy for a child.
First and foremost, choose an age appropriate toy. For babies, toddlers and preschoolers, this means toys without small parts that can present a choking hazard. Any eyes, wheels, or buttons that could be pulled or chewed off are dangerous for this age group. Objects like marbles, coins, or balls less than 1.75 inches in diameter can block a child’s airway if swallowed causing asphyxiation.
When buying squeaky toys, rattles, or toys that play music or make electronic sounds, check to see how loud they are before you buy. Very small children like to hold toys to their ears to hear what happens when they push buttons. Inappropriately loud toys can cause hearing damage when used this way.
Batteries and their fluids are extremely dangerous for small children. Any battery-operated toys must have a battery pack that screws tightly closed and cannot be pried open.
For children in grade school, riding toys such as bikes, scooters, inline skates, and skateboards should be used only with helmets. Any kind of dart or arrow toy should have soft tips. Check electronic toys for labeling indicating that it meets Underwriters Laboratories standards (UL).
Many digital toys and game players come with parental control options. These can be extremely useful in providing breaks from the internet for teenagers who spend too much time online.
Once the toys are in your home, check them regularly for any broken parts or seams, splinters in wooden toys, or rust on metal toys. Broken toys should be removed immediately to prevent them breaking further and causing injury.
Toys purchased in the U.S. must meet rigorous safety standards. But despite this fact, manufacturers are frequently forced to issue recalls for toys that pose a risk to the children playing with them. If your child has been injured by a defective product, contact an experienced Wilmington product liability lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. to arrange a free review your case. Call 302-656-5445 today to schedule an appointment in our Wilmington or Georgetown office, or contact us online. We serve clients throughout the area, including those in Dover, Delaware.