Naughty or Nice, Check Your Child's List Twice
Most children look forward to new toys during the holidays. Before you buy, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) first. Recent reports show that 240,000 children were injured and seven children were killed in 2016 due to unsafe toys.
In an effort to restore consumer confidence in the toy industry, the CPSC has enforced stronger federal rules regulating toy makers, especially those in other countries. Their website highlights top safety concerns and provides opportunities to report dangerous toys.
The CPSC has already made some important changes for safety. The U.S. has the lowest lead paint limit requirements in the world and has converted many voluntary standards to mandatory standards. The CPSC is also requiring more third-party testing for toys that target children under age 12.
Keep an eye out for these safety issues this holiday season:
- Balloons may not be the best gift idea for little children. Pieces of or deflated balloons increase a child's risk for choking, so pick up any pieces before your child does.
- Small balls and pieces pose a choking threat to children under age 3.
- Scooters and other riding toys should be used with proper safety gear, including properly-fitting helmets, elbow and knee pads.
- Avoid toys with high-powered magnets, which are dangerous. Even building sets with small magnets can pose a threat to small children.
- Fidget spinners should only be given to children over age 3. There are small parts, and the light-up variety have lithium coin cell batteries that can be a choking risk.
Keep these precautions in mind and review the entire CPSC report (PDF) for additional information. And remember to dispose of any plastic wrapping or packaging once the kids have finished opening presents.
If you come across a dangerous product this holiday, report it online or call the CPSC's hotline at 1-800-638-2772.