Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or shun all of the gift-giving holidays, if you have kids it’s a certainty that you buy them toys at some point throughout the year. And as you know, with parenting comes a certain amount of paranoia, even when it comes to toys. Are they safe? Made with any crazy chemicals? Are they a choking hazard? Destined for a recall?
No matter what time of year they are purchased, toys carry some amount of risk. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that during 2010, more than 181,000 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency rooms across the nation as a result of toy-related injuries. Yikes! Today, Stratford University is sharing five tops tips for choosing safe toys so you can buy wisely.
5 Tips for Choosing Safe Toys
1. Be a label reader. It is important to see past the toy and read the packaging. Look for “nontoxic” on anything that has art supplies, such as crayons, paints or clay. Also, make sure paints are lead-free. Any children’s jewelry should have ASTM F2923 on the label, which means it has been tested and has met the guidelines set forth by the ASTM International.
2. Keep age in mind. While it may be tempting to purchase toys outside of the child’s recommended age, it may be dangerous. The age recommendations are there because of potential harm that may exist. Stick with buying toys within the child’s age group to help minimize risks.
3. Get the gear. Purchasing a new skateboard, bike or other such device may be exciting, but unless a child has the gear that goes with it, there may be a safety hazard. Always purchase the safety gear that is needed to go with such an item, such as helmets, knee pads and goggles.
4. Evaluate electronics. It is advised that children under the age of eight not have electronic toys because they could pose burn hazards. Also, all electronics should have the “UL” symbol on the package, which means they have been safety tested by Underwriters Laboratories.
5. Thrift with care. Many parents who are cash-strapped this holiday may head to thrift stores in an effort to find gifts for their kids. There may be great bargains in the bin, but there could also be potential safety hazards. It is difficult to know which toys may have been recalled, which are not working properly, or the recommended ages for each toy. Always minimize risks by thoroughly checking the product over and by doing a quick online search regarding the item, which should help provide info about recommended ages and past recalls.
Do you follow these toy-buying rules? Ever dealt with a toy recall? —Erin