This holiday season, as we start shopping for our little ones, it is important to remember that not all toys are safe. According to a recent report in USA Today, there was an increase in toy-related child fatalities from 12 in 2010 to 17 so far in the year 2011. Almost half of the fatalities were choking incidents involving balls or broken balloons. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued 34 toy safety recalls during the 2011 fiscal year, and nearly 252,000 children under the age of 15 required emergency room care due to toy-related injuries.
What Kinds of Toys Have Potential to Be Dangerous?
Many types of toys have the potential to be dangerous for children if they are not used correctly or are not suitable for the child’s age and ability. Some common types of toys that can pose a risk include:
1. Small parts toys: Toys with small parts such as Lego blocks can be dangerous for young children who may put them in their mouths and choke. Parents would be well advised to keep children away from items that have small parts that can be swallowed, such as toys with magnets, button batteries and small batteries.
2. Electrical toys: Electrical toys such as remote-control cars or play kitchens that are battery operated toys or toys with cords can present a risk of electrocution.
3. Sharp toys: Toys with sharp edges, such as scissors, knives, or toy guns, can cause serious cuts, injuries, and even blindness.
4. Choking hazards: Toys with small and round parts, such as marbles or small beads, can pose a choking hazard to young children. The CPSC also suggests that parents avoid products with latex balloons, balls, and small parts because children tend to put everything in their mouth.
5. Heavy toys: Toys that are too heavy, such as heavy blocks or oversized stuffed animals, can cause injury if they fall on a child.
Choose toys that are appropriate for your child’s age and development, read labels and warnings, and supervise children during playtime to prevent accidents and injuries.
What Is the Most Dangerous Toy to Buy?
A CPSC report stated that scooters are the leading cause of toy-related injuries, so parents considering purchasing these items should also consider buying their children safety gear such as helmets and knee and elbow pads. Scooters can be dangerous for the following reasons:
Lack of Balance: Scooters require excellent balance and coordination skills to ride them safely. Young children may not have fully developed these skills, which can lead to falls and injuries.
Speed: Scooters can move at a relatively fast pace, which can make it difficult for young children to control them and avoid accidents.
Unpredictability: Scooters can be unpredictable and can cause accidents if they hit an obstacle or a bump in the road.
Lack of Protection: Unlike a bike or a skateboard, scooters do not offer much protection in the case of a fall. Riders can easily fall off the scooter, leading to bumps, bruises, and even broken bones.
Unsafe Riding Locations: Scooter riders often ride on footpaths, sidewalks, or roads shared with vehicles, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
What Toys Are Safe for Toddlers?
When it comes to choosing toys for children under age 4, safety should always be a top priority. Here are a few types of toys that are generally considered safe for young children:
Soft toys: Plush toys made from soft materials like cotton or polyester are generally safe for children at this stage of development. Make sure they are free from small parts or choking hazards and are labeled as flame-resistant.
Wooden toys: Wooden toys that are smooth and free from splinters can be a great choice for toddlers. They are usually sturdy and can withstand rough play.
Large blocks: Larger blocks made from soft foam or wood are safe for toddlers to play with and can help with their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Bath toys: Bath toys that are made specifically for young children and are free from BPA, phthalates, and other harmful substances are safe for toddlers to play with during bath time.
Musical toys: Musical toys like toy pianos and xylophones can be a fun way for toddlers to explore music and sounds, but make sure they are made from safe, non-toxic materials and are not too loud to avoid damaging their sensitive ears.
Inspect all toys before giving a toy to your child, inspect it for any potential hazards or signs of wear and tear. Throw away any broken toys, as small parts can be dangerous if ingested. Check for sharp edges, loose pieces, toxic materials, or strings that can get caught in small spaces. Toy jewelry is typically not appropriate or safe for young children. Check toy labels and follow age label guidance. Supervise children during playtime and make sure they use toys safely and properly.
What Toys Are Safest for Elementary Age Children?
Elementary age children have moved past the toddler stage, but safety is still a concern. Here are some toys that are generally considered safe for children ages 5 and up:
Board games: Board games can be a great way for children to develop skills like strategy, math, and language, and they are generally considered safe as long as the pieces are not small enough to be choking hazards.
Sports equipment: Balls, jump ropes, and other sports equipment can help children stay active and develop physical skills. Make sure the equipment is age-appropriate and the child is properly supervised while using it.
Art materials: Crayons, markers, and other art supplies can help children express their creativity, but make sure the supplies are non-toxic and age-appropriate.
Building sets: Building sets like Duplo blocks can help develop children’s creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. Make sure the sets are age-appropriate and free from small parts that could be choking hazards.
Science kits: Science kits can be a fun way for children to learn about science and nature, but make sure they are age-appropriate toys and free from hazardous materials.
What Toys Are Safe for Children of All Age Levels?
While there are some toys that are specifically designed for certain age levels, there are also toys that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Here are some examples of toys that are generally considered safe for children of all age levels:
Balls are a classic toy that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. They come in many different sizes and textures, making them suitable for younger children or older kids.
Puzzles can be a fun and challenging toy for all ages. Younger children may enjoy simpler puzzles with larger pieces, while older kids may prefer more complex puzzles with smaller pieces.
Play dough or clay can be a fun and tactile toy that can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but be sure to follow the recommended age limit on the package.
Art supplies like paint, markers, and crayons can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but make sure they are non-toxic and age-appropriate.
What Should Be Done if a Child Is Hurt When Using a Toy?
If a child is hurt when using a toy, the most important thing to do is seek medical attention immediately if the injury is serious. In general, here are some steps to take if a child is injured while playing with a toy:
1. Remove the toy from the child’s hands.
2. Assess the extent of the injury.
3. If the injury is serious, call for emergency services or head to the nearest emergency room.
4. If the injury is less severe and you believe you can handle it yourself, administer first aid as needed.
5. Report the incident to the manufacturer of the toy as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) so they can investigate and potentially issue a recall or ban on the product.
6. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may also want to consult with a lawyer who specializes in product liability laws to seek compensation from the toy makers.
Is There a Lawyer Who Specializes in Lawsuits Involving Dangerous Toys?
The skilled Las Vegas defective product lawyers at Shook & Stone wish you and your family a safe holiday season. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of a potentially defective or dangerous product, please do not hesitate to call our offices at 702-570-0000 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.
Consumer Product Safety Commission | USAGov. (n.d.). Consumer Product Safety Commission | USAGov. https://www.usa.gov/agencies/consumer-product-safety-commission