Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month

The number of toy recalls in the U.S. continues to drop each year; stronger safety standards ensure hazardous toys never make it to store shelves. But, toy-related injuries are still an ongoing concern. National Safe Toys and Gifts Month is a project led by Prevent Blindness America. Its goal is to help educate toy and gift shoppers about safe options. With the gift-giving season quickly upon us, learn how you can keep your family safely enjoying those new toys and gifts.

Warning choking hazard toy

Toy Safety Facts:

  • Riding toys cause the majority of toy-related deaths each year, including tricycles and non-motorized scooters.
  • Choking is a concern in children younger than 3 years old.
  • Toys that shoot are primarily responsible for eye injuries, even blindness.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates toys in the U.S. Any toy made in or imported to the U.S. after 1995, must comply with the CPSC standards.

General Toy Safety:

  • Buy age appropriate toys and games for children.
  • Never leave children unattended with toys or games.
  • Repair or throw away broken toys.
  • Look for the “ASTM” stamp, which signifies the product meets the American Society For Testing and Materials safety standards.

What should you be cautious of with toys and games?

  • Lead-based paints.
  • Sharp edges that can cut children.
  • Small parts or small balls, which are especially concerning for children under 3 years old.
  • Balloons, which can cause choking or suffocation. Keep balloons away from children under 8 years of age.
  • Scooters and riding toys, including skateboards. Be sure children always wear helmets and safety gear when using riding toys.
  • Magnets, which may be toxic if ingested.
  • Wooden toys, which may cause splinters.

Basket of toys

What are toy and game safety rules?

According to,

  • Fabric toys should be flame resistant or retardant.
  • Check to ensure that stuffed toys are washable.
  • If toys are painted, lead-free paint should be used. 
  • Art supplies and kits should be made with non-toxic materials.
  • Crayons and paints should be evaluated and approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

How can you help ensure eye safety?

  • Kids should wear eye protection when playing with toys that could cause eye injury.
  • Children should be taught that toy guns, darts and arrows should never be pointed at anyone.
  • BB guns or pellet rifles should not be given to children under 16 years of age.
  • Remember that chemical residue from toys and games can be dangerous to children’s eyes. Institute a strict hand washing routine in your home.

What else should you know about toy and game safety?

  • Hand-me-down toys and games might seem economical, even sentimental, but they may contain lead-based paint, small parts and other safety hazards. These items may be best if kept on a shelf.
  • Battery chargers and adapters may cause thermal burn hazards. Always have adult supervision when using these items.
  • Be aware of toys that make loud noises, which can contribute to hearing damage and loss.

Where can you find additional information?

Check out for a list of toys and gifts that have been recalled for safety reasons.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

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