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.
Six Tips for a Safe & Successful Holiday Shopping Season posted on Nov 24
With the holiday season and Black Friday approaching, knowing your rights as a consumer might be just as important as knowing where to get the best deals. The Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR) and the Office of the Attorney General (AGO) provide important tips …Continue Reading Six Tips for a Safe & Successful Holiday Shopping Season
Tips to Prevent Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving posted on Nov 19
Every Thanksgiving, families across Massachusetts come together to give thanks and share a great meal. But all the hustle and bustle of this joyous holiday can also pose some serious risks. More fires at home occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. …Continue Reading Tips to Prevent Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving
Make It a Massachusetts Thanksgiving: Buy Local posted on Nov 17
This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), written by Program Coordinator Julia Grimaldi. Massachusetts has a special relationship to Thanksgiving — the first feast was celebrated by early American settlers in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation after a successful …Continue Reading Make It a Massachusetts Thanksgiving: Buy Local