Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

5 Questions: Picking safe toys

Pay heed to labels, guidelines, experts advise

December 7, 2011

Cherie Sage, state director of Safe Kids Kansas, reminds shoppers that safety needs to be on the top of everyone’s list when picking out a child’s toy this holiday season.

Q: How do I know the toy I’m buying is safe?

A: Parents and caregivers can make sure they’re choosing safe toys for their children by paying close attention to warning labels and manufacturer’s guidelines. Warning labels and manufacturers’ instructions tell you how to use the product safely.

Q: Do toys really pose a safety problem, or are people just being overly protective?

A: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2009, there were an estimated 186,000 emergency room-treated injuries related to toys with children younger than age 15.

Q: What’s wrong with giving my toddler a toy marked “For ages 5 and up”?

A: If the manufacturer sets a minimum age or other restrictions, there’s a reason. For example, a label reading ‘not appropriate for children under 3’ may be present because the toy poses a choking hazard, not because it’s too difficult for a 2-year-old.

Q: How can I tell if a toy has been recalled?

A: If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled. If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit recalls.gov to make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons.

Q: If I suspect a toy is dangerous, what should I do?

A: Don’t hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. If your child has a close call, the next child might not be so lucky. Report safety concerns about toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at (800) 638-2772 or cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall.

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