This year OSPIRG, a consumer protection watchdog organization, released their 31st annual toy safety report, Trouble in Toyland, highlighting toy hazards on store shelves this holiday season. The report notes five common toy hazards that cause thousands of injuries to children each year: choking hazards, toxic hazards, ingestion hazards, fire hazards and laceration hazards.
Choking is the leading cause of toy-related deaths. Children under three can choke on small pieces that are less than 1.75 inches in diameter. Balloons are of particular concern because they can easily be inhaled when children attempt to inflate them.
OSPIRG notes that some toys pose toxic hazards to children from lead, chromium and phthalates, a chemical used to make plastics both stronger and more flexible. These chemicals can cause allergic reactions, and have been found to cause cognitive deficits, such as lack of attentiveness, when children come into sustained contact with them.
Toys with magnets often cause life threatening injuries if they are swallowed. In extreme cases, they have been known to tear children’s intestinal walls. The report also cautions parents on hoverboard purchases, which have lithium-ion battery packs that can overheat and catch fire. 500,000 hoverboards were recalled earlier this year due to this safety risk. Lastly, parents and toy shoppers should note the risk that cracks and sharp edges can pose to children. For example, overinflated bike tires can lead to wheel rims cracking and injuring children.
To ensure that your tots have a fun time with their new toys, here are a few tips: