Despite very strict toy safety regulations in the United States and the United Kingdom, some unsafe toys still do slip through the net. Consumers should be familiar with regulations and remain vigilant when buying toys for kids. Safety regulations have been very successful. When defective toys have made it onto the market they have been recalled quickly and publicly.
For the most part, toy safety regulations have been very successful. Very few household accidents involve toys. It is people that are involved in the accidents such as tripping over a toy.
When buying a toy, check to see if it bears the appropriate safety labels – in United States the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) mark and in Europe the CE marking; then check to see if there are age labels with guidance for the toys. The vast majority of toys bear age labels whether they are legally required or not. All toys that are not suitable for children under 36 months must bear a prominent label stating so. Here are some examples of age labels and safety issues:
Under three years – choking hazard. Keep small parts such as marbles, small balls, inflatable toys or toys with sharp or pointy edges out of reach. Babies and toddlers tend to put almost everything in their mouths.
Three to five years – Avoid toys with thin plastic that might break and cause injury
Six to twelve – By this age children will be able to safely play with almost any toy you give them. However, always read the instruction leaflets for maintenance guides and hazard warnings.
If you have children of different ages, it is helpful to organize their toys into separate boxes according to the age labels. When they are not being used, store in the appropriate box. Maintenance of the toys should be carried out by an adult. An example would be, changing the batteries.
Along with safety labels, use common sense when selecting a toy. Make sure the toy is sturdy and well constructed. Look for sharp edges or corners. Be sure that nothing is loose on the toy. Consumer vigilance is essential in keeping toys safe for our children.
Notify the CPSC for United States or CE for Europe when your child has been harmed while playing with a toy.
Safety labels along with age labels are important when buying toys for children. Read them before you make a purchase.