This paper about Safe Toys for Toddlers will not be all inclusive of every problem that can be encountered. I have attempted to include the most relevant information to give you a start at rethinking the toys that you buy for your toddlers, preschool children, and impulsive early grammar school children. There are regulatory bodies, both in government and in industry, which addresses the issue of toy safety. In spite of safety regulations initiated by these organizations, the manufacturing and engineering of safe toys does not always come to fruition. In my personal experience in the distant and recent past has led me to believe that there are too few announcements about problems about defects in toys, or toys that have been deemed through research to be unsafe. Many of these toys are already on the market, and new toys are being designed and manufactured every day. Toys are big money.
There are regulations covering toy safety in the US, Canada, and the UK.
As parents, you are the last barrier between your children and unsafe toys. It is fundamental that adult consumers of children’s toys by aware of the toys to which children have access.
My children are grown with children of their own and the prospect of great grandchildren loom in the near future. I still have friends that have grammar school children and smaller children are everywhere in the neighborhood. One of the announcements about the safety of products for children that I remember was not a toy but cribs. More than a decade back, the space between the ribs of the sides on a crib was reduced because of babies getting their heads stuck, and worse. The crib that my kids slept in was one of the older models. I am so grateful that nothing happened to my children, and that a change to crib design was implemented. As a result of this and other changes to the design of baby and toddler furniture, the space between all uprights of deck and stair railings was reduced about that same time. The design of products manufactured for babies and toddlers have far-reaching effects throughout other life areas.
I’m not sure that I agree that governmental, industrial, and commercial regulations are adequate let alone successful at creating Safe Toys for Toddlers. I am unaware of the statistical numbers for defects in toys, or unsafe toys being the cause for injuries or death in small children. More than likely, these figures are part of actuarial accounting. (Accidents that are related to toys and cause injury to adults are often attributed to tripping and falling, especially near stairs. Some injuries to children are caused by the use of a toy for purposes of which the toy was not originally intended.) There are recalls for toys that have been found to be unsafe. Announcements are made via radio and television, including on news programs. Many of these were initiated after a resulting injury (or death) to a child, or more likely, to many children. In any case, one is too many! Don’t let the ominous statistics related to toddler injuries from unsafe toys happen to any of your children.
Nevertheless, parents are the final barrier against unsafe toys. No pressure… Right?
Labeling on toys, especially toys for toddlers and small children, is a marvelous tool for parents and purchasers of children’s toys. As an example, if a toy indicates that children under 3 years old are to be excluded from playing with the toy, it most likely contains small parts that can be swallowed and the toy presents a choking hazard. These are very dangerous to toddlers. Many parents that I have encountered in my counseling career have ignored this one regulation. Beware!
Here is a checklist for understanding safety labels on when buying
Safe Toys for Toddlers
- Check to see that there is a government or regulatory body seal that indicates the manufacturer has complied with current safety standards.
- Watch for age indicators printed on the packaging. At what age is a child safe playing with this toy?
- Read the instructions and guides included with each toy for warning about potential dangers.
- Use your own common sense. Don’t let the whining or attempts at manipulation of your child unduly influence your purchasing decisions. To my chagrin, I once encountered the mother of a 4 year old purchasing a computer war game that was intended for ‘Mature’ audiences. The boy was 4 Years Old.
- Check the toys that you purchase for sturdiness. Are these toys well made? Will this toy survive the punishment your child will give it?
- Be wary of the small toys at the checkout counter. All small children are attracted to those shiny breakable cheap and dangerous toys that are at the checkout counter to lure your child into a pleading frenzy. Be strong….
- When you purchase stuffed animals, check the stitching to be certain that it will not come apart. Are the eyes and nose stitched and not glued in place?
Below are the Links to…
…Three toy safety organizations from around the world.
…Use the search feature and gather the information that you need.
In United States: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (http:// http://www.cpsc.gov/)
In Europe: the European Commission (EC) (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/index_en.htm)
In Canada: Health Canada (http://cpsr-rspc.hc-sc.gc.ca/PR-RP/home-accueil-eng.jsp) and (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca)
Carol Bengle Gilbert has entered this repeat of the recall of Starbucks plastic animal mugs in Yahoo Voices. These mugs turned out to be a choking hazard. I have included the direct Link to her announcement in Yahoo Voices below.
To Your Parenting Success!
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