Each year, more than 100,000 children get hurt by their toys. Some are badly hurt. Some even die.
These injuries don't have to happen. Here are a few simple tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for buying toys:
- Pay Attention To Age Labeling - Toys are often labeled according to ages of children who can use them safely. For instance, "For Ages Three and Over" means that the toy has small parts on which young children can choke, or sharp points, strings, or elastics that can injure kids under three. It doesn't always mean that the toy is too advanced for your bright two-year old.
- Look For Small Parts - The federal government established a safe size for toys for kids under three. A small part should be at least 1¼" in diameter and 2¼" long. Any part smaller than this or which might break into pieces smaller than this is a potential choking hazard.
- Check For Sharp Points And Edges - New toys intended for children under eight years of age should, by regulation, be sold free of sharp points as well as sharp glass and metal edges. Kids, however, love to throw their toys or they may leave them where they can fall on them. Watch out for toys with glass or easily breakable plastic that will form a sharp point or edge when broken.
- Be on the lookout for strings and cords. Toys with cords or long strings can present a danger to babies and young children. Such cords may become wrapped around a child's neck, resulting in strangulation. Never purchase toys with loops, cords, ribbons, or long strings to place in playpens or cribs where children may become entangled.
Small toys are BIG business. Our product safety laws require that toys be designed safely not only for their intended use by our children but also for their reasonably foreseeable misuse. The next time someone tells you that we need to weaken our product safety laws, remember what is at stake.