The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have prevented many unsafe toys from hitting the shelves and toy recalls have dramatically declined overall. Unfortunately, many toys can still be dangerous when used improperly or by younger children. In 2017, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 13 toy-related deaths and 251,700 hospital emergency visits. In addition, there were 3 deaths and 14,700 emergency department visits associated with holiday decorating.
Here are some tips to share with families this holiday season:
- Age-appropriateness-Not all “safe” toys are safe for all children—what’s safe for your oldest child may still pose a danger to your youngest. Always follow the age recommendations and read the warnings on toys to check for safety hazards. Teach your older children to keep their toys away from their younger siblings.
- Safety Gear- When buying bicycles, skateboards, scooters, skis/snowboards, and similar toys, buy the proper safety gear as well. Make sure helmets are fitted properly. Most helmets should be replaced at least every five to ten years and after an impact.
- Button Batteries and Magnets-The small, powerful magnets found in magnetic building sets and desk toys can be lethal when ingested. While some of these products have been recalled, similar items are still on the market. Button batteries can cause internal chemical burns in less than two hours when ingested. These batteries can be found in some games, toys, musical cards, watches, and flashing shoes. Make sure to keep these away from young children.
- Recalls-You can also subscribe to the CPSC Product Recalllist to keep track of toys that have been pulled from the market because of safety issues.