New Year’s celebrations are only a few days away and most young mothers will step out to shop toys as gifts for their toddlers and for their friends or cousins. For many families, toys bought from car boot sales (similar to American yard sales or flea markets) are now a realistic option to tide over the coming festivities.
So is there something you should watch out for while presents for your little ones? Most definitely!
In a report submitted in November 2010, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission cited that the staff had received as many as 12 reports of toy-related deaths in 2009 for children under 15 years of age. The report also stated that an estimated 250,100 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in the same year. (1)
Here’s what you could look out for when buying little ones their bundle of surprise this season and help bring down the incidences of injuries from toys:
1. Make sure the retail outlet selling children’s toy is a reputed and recognised one.
2. Check for a warning label mentioned on the packaging to see if the toy is suitable for the age-group you are buying the toy for.
3. You may want to pick a product made of natural material (fibre and dye).
4. If your child is allergic to certain materials such as synthetic fur, you may do well buying more easily-maintained plastic and other polymer toys. Also if your toddler is prone to colds, it may be a good idea to buy materials that can be easily wiped clean or washed and dried frequently.
5. Do ensure that the toy does not have loose parts such as buttons, beads, etc. which have not been sown or welded or stuck into the fabric or toy material. These pose potential swallowing or choking hazards. By the same logic, it would be good to avoid toys that have many small parts to them (keys, balls, springs, joint nails, pencil batteries/cells) which could poke or be swallowed by the child under three years of age.
6. You may want to ask the retailer if the toy or crayons/paints are non-toxic.
7. Make sure that the toy does not use leaded-paints and that it is moderately to totally fire-resistant. (2)