toy safety

Life

Toy Safety 2022: Latest on Hazards, Tips for Parents

Despite the year-round toy safety campaign against unsafe toys by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and private organizations, products are still sold that can be hazardous to kids.

A new report released last month by the CPSC found that in 2021 there were more than 152,000 toy-related injuries treated at emergency departments to children younger than 15 years of age, including two deaths. “The fatalities involved choking on a small part of a toy and suffocating on a soft toy in an unsafe sleep environment,” the CPSC states.

For children younger than 15 years old, non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries.

“We see items on a shelf and we assume that if it’s in a store, it must be safe. But that’s not always the case,” said Joseph Scott, M.D., emergency medicine physician at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “Be vigilant and don’t assume a toy is safe. Try to anticipate what could go wrong. We don’t want to assume the worst all the time, and we want our children to have fun, but you have to realize there is always a risk.”

CPSC urges families to stay safe this holiday season by following these tips:

  • Follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging and choose toys that match each child's interests and abilities.
  • Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys–and make sure that children use them every time.
  • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3, and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
  • Once the gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous playthings.

Many parents don’t realize that the CPSC does not test all toys, and that not all products online or in stores meet safety standards. Unfortunately, safety issues with toys often only become known after a child is hurt.

“We are committed to doing our part to ensure, through vigorous inspections and enforcement, that hazardous products don’t make it to store shelves or consumers’ homes,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric, in a statement. “But we also want to arm families with important safety information so they can shop safely for toys and gifts and avoid trips to the emergency department during the holidays.”

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