As Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa come to an end and children begin to play with their toys, are you sure that they are all safe? One of the largest threats to children older than 1 year-old is accidental injuries, which include injuries from toys that end with a visit to the emergency room. To decide if the gifts received this season are safe for play, consider these basic tips and the recall websites below to assist you in maintaining a "happy" toy experience for your child.
Look for the letters "ASTM". If these words are written on the packaging, it meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials
Avoid toys that shoot or have parts that can fly in the air
Select toys that have durable type materials and with no sharp edges
Avoid toys with shrill or loud noises to prevent ear injuries
Don't allow young children to play with toys that have small parts or parts that can come apart and put into the mouth and swallowed
For young children, avoid toys that look like food or colorful candy to prevent swallowing
While this is not directly related to physical safety, any high-tech toys or tablet/iPad applications and games, can potentially allow your child's name and information to get into the hands of predators or bullies. Make sure to check the privacy settings on all devices used by your child, including yours. Many high-tech toys that connect to WiFi or Bluetooth can allow hackers access to the microphones and cameras built into the toys. To decrease that likelihood, buy only from major brands/companies, turn toy devices off when not in use, use a secure internet connection, and check for security patches.
To check to see if a toy has been recalled utilize one of the websites below, which are listed in order of user friendliness.
Children Product Recalls | Latest Child Safety Recalls
This is the website of a nonprofit organization that focuses on the safety of kids worldwide. They work with a collation of 400 U.S. organizations and 30 countries to reduce injuries. You can easily find toy recalls by month and by year and it also has a "Top 7 Recalls" and a "Top 7 Food Recalls" list. This website also provides great safety information, including car seat checkups.
2017 Recalls - Toy Industry Association
This association lists toy recalls by year and provides short descriptions with pictures and the injuries reported as well as how to remedy the situation if you bought the toy. The short descriptions are listed all on one page so it is easy to scroll down to find a toy.
Toy Safety and Recalls - ConsumerAffairs.com
This is a blog-style website that provides readers with 3-4 paragraphs with toy recall details, pictures and a "what to do" section within each article. The articles are also listed within one page so you can easily scroll down.
Recall List | CPSC.gov - Consumer Product Safety Commission
This is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website for any product so to find toys you will enter the specific or general name into the search box. This will result in a short description and picture of the toy/product.
Author: Dr. Chandi Edmonds is a board-certified pediatric physical therapist who is passionate about her work with children ages from birth to 18 years old. Safety is an important topic for Dr. Chandi, especially after spending extensive time in hospital rehabilitation units, providing therapy to children who have been injuried by accidents.