St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 21, 2012 – Fillling Santa’s bag with toys can be fun for parents and others who love children. But some toys pose unacceptable hazards, or they may be inappropriate for the child’s age or stage of development.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that children younger than 15 experienced 193,200 toy-related injuries in 2011. Of those, approximately 44 percent were categorized as cuts, bruises, or scrapes. The head and face are the most commonly affected areas of the body.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to look for toy labels that show what age the toy is intended for. Consider choking hazards from small parts or risks from sharp edges or paint chips. If you’re ordering toys online, make sure the website is secure by looking for https:// in the address bar. Look for a site’s BBB accreditation logo, and click to see if it’s valid. It should link to the company’s BBB Business Review.
BBB tips on toy shopping are:
- Find out which toys have been recalled. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at www.recalls.gov. If the toy or product has been recalled, check the 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 each child. Read and follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy.
- Read labels. Look for age recommendations, 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 or hand-me-downs. While buying a gently used toy might be cost effective, it may not meet current safety standards and could be so worn from play that it breaks and becomes hazardous.
- Be careful shopping online. Internet toy vendors may not be as vigilant as brick and mortar stores about pulling recalled products off the shelf or flagging bar codes.
In addition to buying safe toys, consumers should be aware of potential safety hazards once a toy has been removed from its packaging. The BBB recommends that you:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before it becomes a dangerous play thing.
- Keep older children’s toys away from younger siblings if they have small parts, sharp edges or other hazards for small children.
- Supervise all battery charging. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack a mechanism to prevent overcharging.
Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviews
and charity reviews
by calling (314) 645-3300 or by going online to www.bbb.org
.Contacts (News Media Only):
Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org
, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743 or 314-681-4719 (cell), email@example.com