As the holiday season marches ahead, so does toy shopping for the special children in our lives. There are thousands of toys to choose from and selecting the right one can be a challenge, especially as new toys appear on the shelves every year. Toys are intended to be fun and enjoyable for children, but they can pose serious health risks if they are not properly made and designed.
In 2011, an estimated 262,300 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments — 72 percent of which happened to children 15 years old or younger. Sometimes, choosing the right toy can be difficult, and a typical toy store can easily overwhelm even the shrewdest shopper. When evaluating what toys to buy this year, consider the following:
- Children under three years old tend to put everything in their mouths, so avoid buying toys that have small parts and may pose a choking danger. Look for quality in design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels.
- Consider purchasing a small parts tester to determine whether small toys for children under the age of three might present a choking hazard.
- Toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than seven inches may pose a risk of strangulation.
- Toys that are constructed with thin, brittle plastic might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.
- Avoid cap guns because the caps can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.
- Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud sounds, or projectiles (such as dart and firing rockets).
- If you buy a bicycle for a child, buy a helmet too and make sure the child wears it.
- Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child.
- Inspect all toys as much as possible before taking them out of the box. Once opened, go through each part of the toy to make sure there are no small parts that could be choking hazards.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees the safety of toys and many other consumer products, and requires toy manufacturers to meet stringent safety standards. For more information about purchasing safe toys and gifts, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Hot Line at (800) 638-2772.
Do you have any toy safety tips to share? Comment below or tweet us @MassGov.
Know Your Rights as a Tenant, Part 1: Before You Move In posted on Jul 31
According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), as of 2013, more than 37 percent of Massachusetts homes were occupied by renters. Searching for a rental home, signing a lease, and meeting new neighbors can be exciting, but it’s also important that you keep your …Continue Reading Know Your Rights as a Tenant, Part 1: Before You Move In
How to Have a Safe Summer in Massachusetts posted on Jul 28
After a long snowy winter, it’s no surprise that Massachusetts residents are enjoying the warmer weather — but as you dive into summer activities, make sure you’re doing them safely. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), Department of Public Health (DPH), and Department …Continue Reading How to Have a Safe Summer in Massachusetts
Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm posted on Jul 23
This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). While the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, historically the most active time for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Northern Atlantic is August to October. As such, …Continue Reading Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm