Last month, the government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported their toy safety statistics for 2014:
- There were 11 toy-related deaths in the U.S. in 2014, all in children under 12 years old.
— 7 of these deaths occurred on riding toys; in all seven, a motor vehicle was involved.
- 251,000 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms in the U.S.
— 96% of children were treated and released.
— 59% of injured children were male.
— 33% were under 5 years of age; 69% were under 12.
— Most (42%) of the injuries were lacerations, abrasions, or contusions, most commonly on the head and face.
— Non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries in children under 15 years old.
Even before kids get their hands on the actual toys, parents should be reminded that broken balloons, wrapping paper, and toy packaging, including plastic wraps, can become choking hazards to toddlers and young children who like to mouth objects. Ribbons and strings can also be dangerous — those longer than 12 inches can be a strangulation hazard to infants — and should be removed and discarded before presents are opened. Make sure all these objects are not left lying around to become deadly playthings.
The organization World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) predicts that 46% of toy-buying this year will occur online. They advise parents not to compromise safety for convenience, and to be aware of these online safety traps to avoid:
Limited product information online: Not restricted by bricks and mortar and, in many cases, regulations, consumers buying toys on the Internet are already at a disadvantage as they are unable to touch and physically inspect a toy and its packaging at the time of sale for more obvious hazards. As a result, once the toy is obtained, parents should thoroughly inspect the toy and it’s packaging prior to putting it into the hands of a child. Caregivers should not be lulled into a false sense of security that a toy is safe because of a familiar brand name on a package.
Inconsistent Warnings and Age Recommendations: Some toys available for purchase online may have retailer warnings and age recommendations that are inconsistent with those supplied by manufacturers. In some cases, the warnings may be omitted from the Internet description completely. Such omissions and inconsistencies regarding important safety information can lead to misinformed, and potentially dangerous, consumer purchases.
Recycled Toys- Internet Buyers Beware: As toy themes popular in the 70’s and 80’s are reappearing, such as “Star Wars” and “Jurassic park” inspired figurines, toys manufactured in past decades are in greater demand today. The Internet, an ever-growing frontier of “second-hand” toy buying opportunities, is largely devoid of regulations, safety protocols, and checks and balances. Consumer-to-consumer sales on e-commerce sites such as Craig’s list and eBay are often inconsistently monitored, if monitored at all. Parents need to inspect these toy purchases for dangerous hazards and stay away from any toys that may have been recalled, caused injuries, or are defective.
Tomorrow on The PediaBlog, we’ll look at more toy-buying pitfalls that parents can avoid, and also W.A.T.C.H.’s “10 Worst Toys” list for 2015.