Make toy safety a top priority this season

By U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Statewide - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
- Contributed Photo

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges gift-givers and parents to keep safety in mind when choosing and opening toys for young children. The CPSC estimates that more than 120,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year. Here are the details from the CPSC:

CPSC requires labels to be on all toys marketed for children from 3 to 6 years old if the toys pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. These labels tell consumers two critical things: that a toy is not safe for younger children, and why it is not safe. Before CPSC issued these labeling requirements, it was more difficult for consumers to know that certain toys they bought for older children could be a danger to younger kids.

Parents and gift-givers can help prevent toy-related injuries and deaths by always reading labels and being safety-conscious. The following tips will help you choose appropriate toys this holiday season – and all year round:

• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.

• For infants, toddlers and all children who still put objects in their mouths, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.

• For all children under age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

• Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.

• Read the labels. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.

• Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.

• Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and, when appropriate, to the child.

• Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.

By using common sense and these safety suggestions, holiday shoppers and parents can make informed decisions when purchasing or opening toys for young children this season.

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