CHOOSE AGE-APPROPRIATE TOYS
Everyone likes to think his or her child is smarter and more capable than other kids of the same age. Don't fool yourself. If a toy is beyond the child's mental or physical ability, it could end up presenting a significant safety hazard to the child. It could also be boring, or not much fun.
Be wise and respect the age label on the package. These age ratings were determined by experts with your child's best interests and safety in mind.
KEEP BIG KIDS' TOYS AWAY FROM LITTLE KIDS Little kids (3 and under) love to put things in their mouths. That's why you should never allow older kids' toys to be in an area where little kids can get hold of them. Many older kids' toys have small parts on which a young child could choke. The complicated nature of older kids' toys often makes them hazardous to tots.
BEWARE OF BROKEN TOYS
Though a working toy can be perfectly safe, it can be extremely dangerous when it's broken. Typically, broken toys can become swallowing or choking hazards (when a small part breaks off) or cutting hazards (when an edge becomes sharp or juts out). Once a toy is broken, carefully check for hazards and take it away from the child if it does indeed pose a hazard.
REPORT DANGEROUS TOYS
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is the nation's watchdog for unsafe toys. This agency has the legal authority to inspect, evaluate and recall toys which may be unsafe. Consumers are encouraged to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission by phone or online. Toll Free 1 (800) 638-CPSC www.cpsc.gov.
TOY SAFETY SHOPPING TIPS
Under 3-years old
- Children under 3 tend to put everything in their mouths. Avoid buying toys intended for older children which may have small parts that pose a choking danger.
- Never let children of any age play with uninflated or broken balloons because of the choking danger.
- Avoid marbles, balls, and games with balls, that have a diameter of 1.75 inches or less. These products also pose a choking hazard to young children.
- Children at this age pull, prod, and twist toys. Look for toys that are well-made with tightly secured eyes, noses, and other parts.
- Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
- Avoid toys toys that are constructed with thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.
- Look for household art materials, including crayons and paint sets, marked with the designation "ASTM D-4236." This means the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and, if necessary, labeled with cautionary information.
- Teach older children to keep their toys away from their younger brothers and sisters.
- For all children, adults should check toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. Damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away.
- If buying a toy gun, be sure the barrel, or the entire gun, is brightly colored so that it's not mistaken for a real gun.
- If you buy a bicycle for any age child, buy a helmet too, and make sure the child wears it.
- Teach all children to put toys away when they're finished playing so they don't trip over them or fall on them.