Parents and grandparents treasure the joy of children opening their gifts on Christmas morning. But some toys can be a hazard, and injuries from unsafe toys are a serious problem.
Last year, children younger than age 15 were the victims of 193,200 toy-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of those, approximately 44 percent were categorized as cuts, bruises, or scrapes. The head and face are the most commonly affected areas of the body.
The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to check labels carefully to make sure a toy is appropriate for the age of the child who will receive the gift. For toddlers and other young children, it's important to avoid small parts that pose a choking hazard, sharp edges and pinch points.
Today's BBB press release includes more details. Here are some tips for finding safe toys:
- Find out which toys have been recalled. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at www.recalls.gov. If the toy or product has been recalled, check the guidelines for what to do next.
- Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Toy safety isn't only about avoiding recalled products. You also need to make sure you’re buying appropriate toys for the age of each child. Read and follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy.
- Read labels. Look for age recommendations, such as “Not recommended for children under 3,” and for other safety labels including “flame retardant” or “flame resistant” on fabric products.
- Be cautious of older toys or hand-me-downs. While buying a gently used toy might be cost effective, it may not meet current safety standards and could be so worn from play that it breaks and becomes hazardous.
- Be careful shopping online. Internet toy vendors may not be as vigilant as brick and mortar stores about pulling recalled products off the shelf or flagging bar codes.