Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital provides helpful information on toy safety and hazards to avoid.
Toy safety guidelines are stricter than they have ever been. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) closely monitors and regulates toy safety standards. Any toys made in, or imported into, the United States after 1995 must comply with the commission’s standards. Toy manufacturers are also required to label most new toys for appropriate age groups.
Even with these safety guidelines, children are still treated every year in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. The risks of some toys range from choking to poisoning. That’s why it's important to make sure the toys your child plays with are safe. Learn which toys could be potential hazards for children and pose various dangers.
Toy Hazards to Avoid
There are a variety of toy safety hazards that can be dangerous and include:
- Toxic substances. Toxic substances include chemicals that can adversely affect a child’s development and have been linked, in at least one form, to cancer. Toxic substances include lead (found in batteries, plastics and radiation shielding), boron (found in some store-bought slimes), chromium and phthalates.
- Choking hazards. Choking hazards include marbles, balloons, small balls and vending-machine toys, magnets, batteries.
- Excessive noise. Loud noise can damage a child’s inner ear and cause hearing loss. Damage can occur during a short period of time or by a toy being loud over an extended period.
Toy Safety Tips
When shopping, keep these general toy safety tips in mind:
- Strings and straps. Strings and straps could strangle small children.
- Small parts. If an object fits inside a paper towel or toilet tissue roll, a child could choke on it.
- Fabric. Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant. Stuffed toys should be washable.
- Sound. If a toy is too loud, it could be loud enough to damage a child’s hearing.
- Crayons and paints. Crayons and paints should say “nontoxic” and “ASTM D-4236” on the package, which means that they've been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Used or older toys. Older toys, even hand-me-downs, may not meet current safety standards.
If you have any doubt about a toy's safety, be cautious and do not allow your child to play with it.
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