Selecting the right toys for youngsters on your holiday list can be a challenge. Is the toy safe? Is it age appropriate? Although toys are intended to be fun, they can pose hazards if not used correctly.
A report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 265,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2012. Of those injured, approximately 72 percent were children younger than 15.
If your shopping list includes the names of a few good boys or girls, BBB offers the following advice to ensure the toys you give are safe:
Find out which toys have been recalled. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at recalls.gov. If the toy or product has been recalled, check guidelines for what to do next.
Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Toy safety isn't only about avoiding recalled products – you also need to make sure you’re buying appropriate toys for the age of the child. Read and follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy.
Read labels. Look for information such as “Not recommended for children under 3,” and for other safety labels including “Flame retardant” or “Flame resistant” on fabric products.
Be cautious of older toys and hand me downs. Safety recalls don’t expire; so while buying a gently used toy might be cost-effective, it’s important to check product recalls regularly.
Be careful when shopping online. Internet toy vendors may not be as vigilant as brick–and-mortar stores about removing recalled products. Be sure to double-check the toy you’re purchasing hasn’t been flagged as a recall.
Recognize safety hazards once the toys are opened. CPSC advises immediately discard wrapping, keeping toys geared for older children away from younger siblings and supervising all battery charging.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org.