Playing It Safe When Shopping for Toys During the Holidays

When shopping for toys to give children during the holidays, it is important to select toys that are age appropriate for the child and to be aware of toys that may be unsafe and pose a risk of injury.

Toys are safer today than in earlier decades because of requirements for independent safety testing for toys designed primarily for children 12 and younger. But some unsafe and defective toys still reach the stores shelves. Thirty toys were recalled because of safety defects in 2014, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

An informative safe shopping guide published by the Illinois Attorney General contains descriptions and photos of toys, children’s clothing, cribs and other products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this year.

It is important to understand what toy hazards to look for when you are toy shopping in stores and online. Keep in mind that not all toys are suitable for young children.

Be aware that toys that have small removable parts may pose a choking hazard, particularly for younger children. The law bans removable parts on toys intended for children three and under. Look at the age range on the toy packaging to determine whether the toy is suitable for your child and pay attention to the warnings.

Pull toys with long strings or ribbons present a strangulation hazard for very young children, if the string gets wrapped around the child’s neck.

Small magnets like those found in building sets and other toys pose a serious hazard. If a child swallows one or more magnets, the magnet can create a blockage or perforation and require surgery to remove it.

Toys that rely on batteries should have a sealed battery compartment so the batteries cannot fall out and be swallowed by the child. As with magnets, a battery that is swallowed may require surgery.

A Massachusetts consumer safety group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, has compiled an annual list of the 10 most dangerous toys for Christmas this year. They include a folding trampoline, gloves designed as dinosaur claws and a puppy pull toy with hubcaps that may pose a choking hazard. You can view their complete list of dangerous toys.

More than 250,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The most common injuries were lacerations and abrasions to the head and face.  The majority of children injured in toy related accidents were 12 years or younger.

The three types of toys associated with the most injuries were riding toys, toy balls and toy vehicles. Riding toys such as tricycles and non-motorized scooters were associated with 30 percent of the injuries—the largest portion of any group.  It is important for children who receive riding toys to wear helmets to prevent injuries.

Toy manufacturers have a legal responsibility to make products that are safe when used as intended. If your child has been injured by a toy that has been recalled, you should talk with a personal injury lawyer about your legal right to seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses. In Tampa, Florida, contact the Disparti Law Group for a free consultation about your injury.

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