Injury Prevention

Toxic Toys: A Warning For Caregivers

While many toy manufacturers take extra steps to ensure the safety of their products, too often children end up playing with toxic toys. With the busy holiday shopping season just around the corner, injury prevention experts are issuing a warning for parents and caregivers.

The United States Public Interest Research Group released its 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report exposing the risks to children from counterfeit and other dangerous toys. The report is broken down into categories including:

  • Knockoff toys: Counterfeiters can produce toys at a far cheaper cost than the original manufacturer can and they can be tricky for caregivers to spot. These days, many are available for purchase online from companies that don’t follow U.S. regulations.
  • Second-hand toys: People often sell used goods without checking to see whether any recalls are in effect.
  • Choking hazards: Toys marketed to young children can contain parts that are so small that they are choking hazards, including magnets, button batteries and balloons. Experts advise that toys with parts small enough to fit through a small parts tester such as a toilet paper roll are too small for children under the age of 3 to play with.  
  • Noisy toys: Noisy toys present a danger to children’s hearing in addition to being a nuisance in the home. Experts warn that prolonged exposure to toys emitting sounds at or greater than 80 decibels can cause long term damage to hearing.
  • Smart toys: Experts continue to be concerned about privacy issues related to smart toys that can record children and/or store data about the toy and its user.

Steven Rogers, MD, an emergency physician at Connecticut Children’s and research scientist at Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, says scooters cause the most injuries to children under age 15. He encourages parents to make sure children use them in safe areas while wearing helmets.

To keep younger children safe, Dr. Rogers encourages parents to protect them from choking hazards such as small parts and actively supervise children while they are playing. “The best gift you can give a child is a loving and safe environment. Slow down and play with them because that is what they will remember when the toys are gone,” says Dr. Rogers.

To read the full Trouble in Toyland report, click here.

To access the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall database, click here.

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