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                      HOLIDAY TOY SAFETY


According to the most recent data from the CPSC, toy-related injuries send more than 82,000 children under the age of five to emergency rooms. in 2008 nineteen children died from toy-related injuries.

Supervise... Watch your child while they play.

Maintain... Check all toys regularly for damage (such as sharp edges, small parts.) Return, repair or discard broken toy.

Select... Choose toys according to a child's age, interests, and skill level. Be sure to check the warning labels for safety information.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are there more than 150,000 toy-related injuries - serious enough to require emergency room treatment every year.

During the holiday season as toy sales skyrocket, the likelihood of toy-related injuries increases, too. However, not all toys are safe. Many contain small parts that could be choking hazards, while others make loud noises that can cause hearing impairments.

So, before you buy that doll or bouncing ball for your child, please take some precautions.

Make sure toys are age-appropriate for the child... not all toys are for all children. READ LABELS!

  • Check for toy recalls
  • Do not give magnetic toys to children under age 6
  • Check cars, trucks and squeeze toys for loose or small parts that children can cause choking if swallowed
  • Children should not be permitted to play with matches or fireworks
  • Young children should not be permitted to play with marbles, coins, scissors, balloons, jacks, small balls or any small treasures/prizes
  • Do not let children put jewelry in their mouths
  • Be sure that all fabric toys are flame resistant and flame retardant

One of the biggest concerns is choking hazards. The 1994 Child Safety Protection Act requires a warning on toys that contain small parts. The standard for a choking hazard toy is whether it can fit into a "no-choke testing tube." This tube is approximately the diameter of a cardboard toilet paper roll. If an object can fit easily into the tube, it is a choking hazard for children under the age of 3.

Any ball with a diameter of 1.75 inches (44.4mm) or less that is intended for use by children 3 years or older must be labeled:

. /!\ WARNING:
. CHOKING HAZARD-This toy is a small ball.
. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Any toy or game intended for children 3 years or older but less than 8 years that contains a small ball shall bear the following cautionary label:

. /!\ WARNING:
. CHOKING HAZARD-Toy contains a small ball.
. Not for children under 3 yrs.


Any marble intended for children 3 years or older shall be labeled:

. /!\ WARNING:
. CHOKING HAZARD - This toy is a marble.
. Not for children under 3 yrs.


Also be cautious of balloons. According to the U.S. Public Interest Group, balloons are the leading choking killer. It is recommended they be kept away from children under 8 years of age. Toys with strings and cords can be very dangerous for infants and young children. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons in cribs or playpens where children can become entangled.

Any latex balloon, or toy or game that contains a latex balloon, shall be labeled as follows:

. /!\ WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD


- Children under eight yrs. can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.

Loud noises are also a concern. The law requires a label on boxes of caps producing noise above a certain level. Caps producing noise that can injure a child's hearing have been banned. Parents should periodically check all toys for breakage and potential hazards. A damaged or dangerous toy should be disposed of or repaired immediately.

Another good practice is teaching children to put their toys safely away on shelves or in a toy chest after playing, to prevent trips and falls. This holiday season, as children receive gifts such as bicycles, skates, and skateboards, or rollerblades, make sure you also include the proper safety equipment, such as knee and elbow guards, and especially a helmet.

We Hope This List Will Help You In Selecting Age-Appropriate Gifts

0 to 1 year-olds
Like to explore with their eyes, hands and mouth.

. Crib gyms
. Floor activity centers
. Activity quilts
. Squeaky toys
. Soft dolls or stuffed animals

1 to 3 year-olds
Like to climb, jump, walk, throw and play rough and tumble games.

. Soft blocks
. Large blocks
. Push and pull toys
. Books
. Music
. Pounding and shaping toys

3 to 5 year-olds
Like to use their imagination and have toys that are close companions.

. Nontoxic art supplies
. Pretend toys (e.g. play money, telephone)
. Teddy bears or dolls
. Music
. Books
. Outdoor toys (i.e. tricycle and a helmet)

5 to 9 year-olds
Like to be challenged with complex games that teach specific skills and concepts.

. Arts and crafts kits
. Puppets
. Jump ropes
. Action figures
. Miniature dolls
. Books
. Music

9 to 14 year-olds
Develop lifelong skills, hobbies and enjoy team and individual sports.

. Handheld electronic games
. Board games
. Books
. Music
. Sports equipment (with protective gear)
. Model kits
. Musical instruments

Lead in Toys

A great number of toys have been recalled because they contain 35 percent lead. Many of these have levels far above the federal recall standard used for lead paint. Even with the recall, many toys that contain lead are still on store shelves.

When buying toys for children five years of age and under, do not purchase any that contain soft plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

When young children chew and suck on toys, these chemicals can likely emit carcinogens and can cause liver and kidney damage.

Click here for the 2007 Toy Recall List

To learn about U.S. government recalls visit www.recalls.gov

This holiday season and... everyday throughout the year, please "think safety" when buying toys for your children. They only have one childhood... make sure it's a safe one - leading to a safe future.

Keep track of each purchase of your childrens' toys. Click here for your Toy Safety Checklist from the New York State Consumer Protection Board


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