With more than 6 million children injured every year by accidents involving children's toys, it's important for parents to understand the dangers of toys and know how to provide a fun, safe environment for their child. Toy safety involves choosing the right toy, checking toys regularly, and storing toys safely. To help parents evaluate and re-evaluate the safety of toys, the following guidelines have been established:
- Choose toys appropriate for your child's age. Toys with warnings "Not Intended for Children under 3" may contain small parts and should not be given to Infants and toddlers, who often put toys in their mouth and small pieces present a choking hazard. Children under three should not play with toys smaller than a half dollar. If you have older siblings, store toys and games with small parts intended for older children out of reach of smaller children.
- Be sure to keep uninflated balloons out of reach of children under 6 years of age. Be sure to discard pieces of broken balloons which present a choking hazard.
- Teach your children the importance of using safety equipment such as bicycle helmets and pads which reduces the risk of serious injury.
- Inspect toys for sharp object or projectiles
- Check dolls and teddy bears for eyes and noses that can be pulled off
- Check for product recalls often
- Carefully read all instructions and safety material
- Use open storage bins or toys chests with removable lids or sliding doors. One of the greatest dangers of toys storage is a toys chest with a free-falling lid, which can cause injury to head, neck, back or chest.
- Re-evaluate toys often
Written by: Dee Dee Martin, co-founder Parenting Club and Simply Toys