In the midst of an otherwise busy year, many people might be somewhat shocked to find that they only have two more weeks to get their Christmas shopping done. The next fortnight will find people rushing to retail outlets in a mad frenzy to get the last available unit of a particular toy that their child has had his or her eye on for months. Setting aside all the safety hazards posed when a throng of people are shoved into a condensed space, Consumer Reports recently examined overlooked safety hazards posed by the toys in the aisles surroundings those throngs. We’d like to relate some of those to you.
One should first distinguish whether a toy should be designated for an older or a younger child, especially in households where children of all ages reside. An older kid might be totally invested in building blocks and other toys that contain numerous small parts, but if kept in the vicinity of a young sibling, a choking and ingestion hazard is posed. If an older child’s toys have small parts, then make sure he or she plays away from the toddler or baby. You might even consider alternative products that don’t contain small parts.
Also consider those oft overlooked small items that can mistakenly be given to young children. Small balls and marbles are particularly dangerous because it can be hard for an individual to remove them from a child’s throat if they get stuck there. Balloons can also be swallowed by a child if they’re not inflated, posing yet another choking risk.
To prevent these and other small part threats, take the time to research a given toy. Don’t rely on what age the label stipulates an item would be safe for. In most cases, that label will be fairly accurate, but there are also those instances where not all three year old children would be ready for an item labeled as being for ages three and up. A parent’s judgment tends to be more trustworthy than a manufacturer’s recommendation, as a parent will be familiar with the child’s development and level of responsibility.
Also be aware of other safety hazards that aren’t immediately obvious. Consumer Reports talks about an incident from 2010 in which a ride-on item designed to be safe for children actually had a certain component that could cause an injury if the child fell against it. There might be other items out there that pose similar heretofore unidentified dangers, so be wary.
Finally, shop only at those retail outlets that offer new items. A used toy might pose hazards that have since been addressed by safety regulations. Buy new so that you know the chances of an injury are smaller, if not altogether eliminated.