The holiday season is always exciting for children, but the season also poses unexpected risks. Last week, the American Association of Justice released a study to try and help minimize the risk. The study, Playing With Safety: Dangerous Toys and the Role of America’s Civil Justice System, discusses some of the dangers and also talks about the civil justice system’s role in reducing the risks.
I also urge parents to check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for additional tips on toy safety. Some of their most basic tips are as follows:
- Which Toy for Which Child – Always choose age appropriate toys.
- Gear Up for Safety – Include safety gear whenever shopping for sports-related gifts or ride-on toys, including bicycles, skates, and scooters.
- Location, Location, Location – Be aware of your child’s surroundings during play. Young children should avoid playing with ride-on toys near automobile traffic, pools or ponds. They also should avoid playing in indoor areas associated with hazards such as kitchens and bathrooms and in rooms with corded window blinds.
Here are some additional safety steps that consumers can take while shopping this holiday season:
- Scooters and other Riding Toys – Riding toys, skateboards, and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and be sized to fit.
- Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons at once.
- Magnets – For children under age six, avoid building or play sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
Once the gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous play things.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
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