Tips for Holiday Toy Safety

11/9/2006

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Toys have changed over the years and the assortment can be astounding, particularly to those who haven’t toy-shopped in awhile. Child safety, however, never goes out of style. It is something grandparents and other family members should always keep in mind when selecting gifts for youngsters.

The Better Business Bureau joins with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to offer toy shoppers the following tips to help keep kids happy and safe this holiday season and beyond:

  • Select toys that fit the child’s age, interests and skill level.
  • Read and follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy. If a toy is not recommended for children under the age of three, do not purchase it for a toddler or an infant.
  • Look for safety labels. If you are purchasing a fabric product, look for a “flame retardant/flame resistant” label. If it is a stuffed toy or doll that you seek, look for a label that states it is made of “washable/hygienic materials.”
  • For children under age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Toys with cords or strings may also be dangerous for infants and very young children, as they pose a strangling hazard.
  • Rattles, squeeze toys and the like should be large enough so that they cannot be swallowed and become lodged in an infant’s throat.
  • For children under age eight, avoid toys with sharp edges and electric toys with parts that “heat up.”
  • Toys that produce loud noises can damage hearing. They can also hinder household harmony!
  • Remember that siblings share toys. If you buy the six-year-old a toy with small parts and he has a three-year-old sibling, that could pose a safety hazard for the younger child.
  • Look for quality design and good construction. Toys that break easily can mean trouble as sharp edges, dangerous prongs or electrical wires may become exposed.
  • Make sure all directions or instructions are clear and easy-to-understand, for both the parent and the child.
  • If the toy requires batteries, provide them with the gift. That will make the parent’s job easier!
  • Ask about the retailer’s return policy and request a gift receipt. This will assist parents if they have to return the toy because of safety or other concerns.
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