Safe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children's Offer Toy Safety Reminders
11-15-2009 (Dayton, OH) -
With more than 65 percent of the toys bought in the United States between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas, parents and caregivers are heading into the country's busiest toy-buying season.
But with millions of toys being recalled because of dangerous lead paint and magnets, toy shoppers need to remember that the number is a small fraction of the overall number of toys - approximately 3 billion - sold in the United States every year.
"Shoppers need to be even more informed than usual to make sure they buy safe, age-appropriate toys, said Jessica Saunders, Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator and injury prevention coordinator for The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. "Even though most toys in the U.S. today are considered to be safe, it doesn't mean we should throw caution to the wind."
E-mail alerts keep shoppers up-to-date on recallsEach year, approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide. But on average, only 15 children under the age of 14 die from a toy-related injury.
To stay informed, Saunders recommends that parents sign up for emails that will keep them up-to-date on recalls. "It's too difficult to get your information piecemeal from TV or the newspaper," said Saunders. "So if you get the emails sent to you each time a recall happens, you'll be up-to-the-minute and won't have to worry."
To sign up for recall emails, go to www.cpsc.gov and click on Sign up for Email Announcements.
Parents and caregivers shouldn't hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. "If your child has a close call, the next child might not be so lucky," says Saunders.
"Report safety concerns about toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall."
Avoid second-hand toysSaunders reminds parents that most toys are safe, especially if you buy from a reputable retailer.
"That doesn't mean you have to go to a 'big box' store, but if you shop a locally-owned toy store, make sure that the owner is aware and vigilant about getting recalled items off the shelves. And avoid used toys, which could have been recalled and not removed from circulation."
"If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the toy hasn't been recalled for safety reasons," says Saunders. "If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled."
Other precautions to takeSafe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children's also recommend these five precautions:
- Make sure to buy age-appropriate toys. All toys are clearly marked if they have small parts; do not buy toys with small parts (or allow a child under age 3 to play with those kinds of toys belonging to an older sibling).
- Identify dangerous small parts. To be sure of a toy's size, use a small parts tester or a toilet paper roll. Do not let small children play with anything that can fit into one of these cylinders.
- Inspect toys to make sure they are in good repair. Do not let young children play with toys that have straps, cords or strings longer than 7 inches, due to the risk of strangulation.
- Actively supervise children. Caregivers should actively supervise children playing with any toy that has small parts, moving parts, electrical or battery power, cords, wheels or any other potentially risky component. Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising. Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach and paying undivided attention.
- Practice proper storage. Teach children to put toys away after playing, to help prevent falls and unsupervised play, and make sure toys intended for younger children are stored separately from those for older children. Toy chests should be equipped or retrofitted with safety hinges that prevent the lid from closing on a child who is leaning over the open chest; if a chest does not have safety hinges, remove the lid.
Safe Kids Greater Dayton works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and younger. Safe Kids Greater Dayton is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Greater Dayton was founded in 1994 and is led by The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. For more information, log on to www.childrensdayton.org/cms/safekids.
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