Identifying Hazards in Children’s Toys

Not all toys are safe for children. This is a fact that all parents should be aware of. When you go inside a toy store and you’re bombarded with hundreds of colorful choices on toys all claiming to be the best option for your little toddler, it’s imperative that you’re able to distinguish those that are safe from those that are not. To help you do that, here are the hazards that you should identify when looking for a toy for your child.

Toxic Materials
• Phthalates
Some toys are made of phthalates, which is a class of chemicals used for softening plastic toys for teethers. These have been found to have negative effects on the health including reproductive defects. See to it that the toy you’re buying is phthalate-free.

• Lead Paint
It should also not contain any harmful chemical such as lead paint, which some toys are commonly painted with. Check the manufacturer’s label before buying a toy.

Choking Hazards
Children love to put things inside their mouth, which makes them prone to choking. If you are going to buy your child a toy, it’s imperative to choose one that doesn’t have any choking hazard. Remember, choking on small toy parts is the leading cause of toy-related injuries and deaths in the United States. A toy shouldn’t contain any detachable part that is small enough to fit inside his mouth, and even ears or nose.

There is a difference between labels of “toys with small parts” and “small parts may be generated”. The first one already has small parts, while the second one has parts that can be broken into small portions. However, both can provide choking hazards and should be avoided.

Excessively Loud Toys
The American Society for Testing and Materials released a standard guidelines for manufacturing toys that produce sounds. It advises toys manufacturers to create toys that do not produce sounds louder than 90 decibels when measured 10 inches away. Unfortunately, some toys fail to adhere to these standards. According to the US Public Interest Research Groups (US PIRG), some toys in the market exceeded the 90 decibel standard. Prolonged exposure to such loud sounds can result in hearing damage.

Strangulation Hazards
Another common cause of death and injury in children playing with toys is strangulation. This is why, it is a must that you check if the toy you’re buying has any strangulation hazard. This can be anything from ropes or cords that can be wrapped around the child’s neck and cause strangulation and suffocation.

Sharp Points and Edges
You should also keep your eyes open for any sharp points or edges in your child’s toys. This can cause various kinds of accidents from poking to scratching to scraping of the skin. Moreover, a toy should not contain any part that can pinch his little fingers.

Additional Tips for Toy Shopping
• Always check the age recommendation of the toy. Many of the dangers associated with toys are related to age. Some toys that may be safe for older children may not be safe for younger ones.

• Buy from reputable toy manufacturers that see to it that their toys undergo rigorous testing for safety before releasing them in the market.

• Avoid cheap toys that are not durable and those that can easily break. These can pose choking and injury hazards to your child.

Always exert extra caution when shopping for your little one’s toys. You never know how one piece of colorful item can turn into a cause of disaster.

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