As toys have advanced technologically, so have their associated risks, according to the Connecticut Better Business Bureau (BBB). The hottest topic at this time of year for children is their “must have” list. For parents, it is safety.
Every year, recalls are issued for toys and other products for children because of choking hazards, batteries that can be swallowed, poor product design, and toxic materials used in manufacturing, such as lead-based ingredients.
Sometimes the dangers may not be apparent, but every year, hundreds of children are seen in emergency rooms for injuries to the eyes and limbs and problems caused by swallowing or choking on small parts. Marbles, wheels, plastic parts, and balloons are among a long list of hazards, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Defects in toys may not appear until weeks, months or years after the toys have been put on the market, which makes it imperative for parents to make certain that toys are age-appropriate and have not been subject to a safety recall, especially if they are buying them from individual sellers rather than retailers.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that parents take several issues into account when shopping for children for the holidays — as well as the rest of the year:
Find out which toys have been recalled. Information on the latest recalls is available from the CPSC website, cpsc.gov/. The Toy Industry Association also provides extensive information on toy safety and recalls at toyinfo.org.
Be careful shopping for toys online. Most stores move quickly to pull unsafe products off the shelves; however, online auction sites and classified ad boards may offer toys that have been recalled.
Chose age-appropriate toys. Toy safety involves more than avoiding recalled playthings. You should also make sure you follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations on the toy’s packaging. Some products that are safe for older children may be hazardous for toddlers.
Additional consumer and holiday tips are available in the “Get Consumer Help” section of the BBB website, bbb.org/connecticut/.