December is Safe Toys & Gifts Month, and it is a timely reminder indeed in this season of gift giving. There are a myriad of options in the toy aisles, both in the store and online. Selecting a safe, appropriate toy can seem overwhelming, but with a few basic guidelines you can be sure the toy you give is both fun for the child and safe for them as well.
Choosing Safe Toys
The first thing to remember when choosing a toy is to select a toy that is safe for that child’s age. Look for tags and labels that indicate what age range the toy is intended for, particularly when choosing a toy for a child under 3. Also keep in mind that just because a child falls in the suggested age range for the toy, it still may not be appropriate for the child you’re buying for. Here are some ways for choosing toys safe for all ages:
- Check for labels that confirm the toys have passed a safety inspection (example, toys marked ASTM meet the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials)
- Look to see if the instructions are easy to follow for the child
- Look for toys that are well made and have a solid design, and can’t be easily crushed, broken, or pulled apart
- Examine the packaging to see if the toy presents a fire hazard
There are also things to avoid when selecting toys:
- Toys with cords and ropes
- Crayons and markers not labeled nontoxic
- Toys with small parts, points, and sharp edges
- Guns and other toys that shoot flying projectiles and make loud noises
- Toys that could shatter into fragments
- Electric toys with heating elements
Protecting Children from Toys with Lead
Older toys and toys imported from other countries may have high levels of lead in the plastic or paint. Even small of amounts of lead can be harmful to a child. It’s not easy to tell at first glance if a toy has a dangerous level of lead in it. Here are a few tips to help protect children from lead exposure in toys:
- Have your children wash their hands frequently
- Be aware that old toys may contain lead in their paint
- Before shopping, check to see what kinds of toys have been recalled
- Educate yourself about lead exposure from toys
If you think your child may have been exposed to lead call your healthcare provider. Most of the time there are no symptoms, but some children may be aggressive, irritable, have little appetite, or headaches. High levels of exposure to lead may cause stomach pain and cramps.
To stay aware of the latest recall notices, subscribe the Burnetti, P.A. RSS Feed or “Liking” our Facebook Page. If your child has been severely harmed by a dangerous toy that has been recalled, a defective product attorney may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. For more information, call 1-888-BURNETTI.