Dangerous toys sold in the US have caused 19 deaths in 2009 according to a report by US Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs). Main risk caused by recall toys published by the European Safety Commission in 2008 are:
- Injuries – 20%
- Chemical – 19%
- Choking – 16%
- Electric Shock – 15%
- Fire – 10%
- Other – 20%
With this statistic in mind, one wonders what type of toys would be safe for kids? How do you check if the toy is safe?
To lower such risks, when shopping for toys parents should first become informed consumers and readers of labels. Consumer Web sites and package labeling contain the manufacturer’s recommendations and other important information. Instructions should be clear and easy to follow. No matter how much the parent may want the toy for it’s baby boy or baby girl, select only those that suit the they early age, abilities, skills. Toys that are too advanced may pose safety hazards to newborn child.
If you do not restrict yourself to buying toys only recommended for baby’s age as stated on the toy box you should keep an eye on your baby while he is playing in case he may chew or bite on the toys. The best option is to try and pull out the small parts from the toy(s) to make such that it will not fall off and to check it carefully before giving it to your baby. Nothing is more attractive to children than toys with bright colorings. But parents should beware. Brightly colored toys can pose a dangerous health risk to children from lead-based paint. So far in 2008, the CSPC has ordered the removal of 45 types of toys from store shelves in the U.S. due to high lead counts. In 2007, agency ordered the removal of 97 types of toys.
Children are mostly affected by lead poisoning because of their habits of putting things into their mouths. Unfortunately, children’s systems easily absorb lead. Lead poisoning can cause long-term mental and physical problems, and in some cases death. Children activity books, especially for this early ages, should be considered and testes as toys. They pose a risk of choking because the metal spine can be pulled off by a child. The spine and stickers can be swallowed, as they fit into the small parts cylinder. Also there is a risk of cuts because the released spine has sharps points that can cut the skin.
Small objects that babies can swallow, such as marbles, beads, balloons, small balls, many game pieces, barrettes and Lego blocks are also dangerous. They can become lodged in your child’s windpipe, ears or nose and completely block their airway. To test the safety of a toy, invest in a truncated cylinder, which is a clear plastic tube that is available at many stores and allows objects to pass through it that are too small to be given to a child under three. Or, you can even use a toilet paper tube. Make sure that stuffed animals are washable (so they won’t become a breeding ground for germs) and that they don’t have easily removable parts, such as eyes or nose. These parts could become dislodged and find their way easily into baby’s mouth. Also, check squeeze toys and make sure they don’t contain a squeaker that will detach, posing a choking hazard.
Generally, avoid toys with batteries or even worse mains operated toys/appliances for babys due to a number of reason. Firstly batteries tend to leak and we know baby’s like to suck on things. Secondly Baby’s could all start a ‘hire-a-huby’ business. Thirdly mains operated toys or appliances come with cords, which can be a strangulation risk as previously mentioned. If you really can’t get around using things like baby monitors or night lamps, than please make sure that the cables are secured and out if reach. It pays to check on that frequently as older siblings tend to be fascinated with those too. Before you know it cables are in the open again.
Toy Safety Standards
As well as making sure your toys are safe, one of the things you can do is to check if the toy producer provide product liability insurance in case something does ever happen. The three sets of toys standards are:
- International Standard ISO 8124 established by the International Organisation for Standardisation (supplemented by IEC 62115 for electric toys established by International Electrotechnical Commission);
- European Standard EN 71 Series and EN 62115 standard for electric toys as specified in BS EN 71 and BS EN 62115; and
- ASTM F963-08 established by the American Society for Testing & Materials.
The Bottom Line
Finally, remember that toy safety, doesn’t end when you leave the store. Follow these advises to ensure your newborn stay safe from the moment he receive a toy to the day he is ready to give it up. Always remember that the supervision is the most important safety factor that you can provide to protect a child from harm.