The holiday season is an exciting time for families, friends, and children. There’s truly nothing like giving wished-for toys to children and seeing their faces light up with joy and excitement. But before you exchange gifts or even begin your holiday toy shopping, it’s important to remember that safety is still the number one priority and hazards can be present in even the most innocuous places.
Given that December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month, here are a few important facts and precautions to keep in mind during this time of year.
Common Injuries Caused by Children’s Toys
Each year, thousands of children are injured or even killed by defective or hazardous products. A recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) showed that toy injuries resulted in 185,000 emergency room visits and 11 deaths in 2015. About 72% of those injuries were to children aged 15 or younger.
Riding toys, specifically non-motorized scooters, accounted for 45% of all toy-related deaths during the year that the report focused on. Other types of hazards that should be avoided when purchasing toys include:
- Small balls or toys with small parts
Additionally, the most commonly injured body parts include the head and face area, with the most common physical injuries including cuts, lacerations, or abrasions.
Tips for Giving Safe Gifts This Year
Knowing what to look out for before you begin shopping can make a huge difference when it comes to actively preventing toy-related injuries. Here are a few guidelines that you can follow in order to choose safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect All Toys Before Purchasing. Avoid toys with flying or shooting parts, with sharp edges, or that break easily.
- Be a Good Label Reader. Check that a toy has passed certain safety inspections by looking for “ATSM” labeling, which means it has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Choose Age-Appropriate Toys. Check the toy for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before purchasing.
- Include the Right Safety Gear. Gifts of sports equipment, including bikes or skateboards, should always be given with the appropriate safety gear (i.e., a helmet).
- Avoid Toys With Lead. Educate yourself on what toys are more likely to contain lead, as well as the potential symptoms of lead poisoning.
- Avoid Toys With Small Parts. Toys that contain small, removable parts present a choking hazard to children and should be avoided.
- Discard Wrapping Immediately. As soon as a toy is unwrapped, make sure to discard any of the wrapping material, as it can cause a choking hazard.
- Check for Recent Recalls. During the holiday season and all year round, make sure to constantly check for recalls in order to ensure that a defective or hazardous product is not in the hands of your young children; you can check for toy recalls on the CPSC website here.
We hope that these tips help you and your family stay safe this upcoming holiday season. Please know that, if your child or loved one is injured by a defective toy or product during this time, the Boulder product liability attorneys at Klein Frank are standing by ready to review your case for free and protect the rights of you and your family.