Toy Safety: Doing Your Own Checks

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Nowadays toy safety is a greater concern than ever. After last years extensive recalls of toys manufactured in China, parents are doing everything they can to make sure that the toys the buy for their children are safe. But many consumers have little trust for the toy industry’s checks on itself, and are taking responsibility for checking the safety of their kids’ toys. Here are some of the most important things to look out for when investigating the safety of a toy.

–    The toy should be both sanitary and washable—it’s amazing how quickly children’s toys can get dirty.
–    Toys should be well constructed. Cheap toys can come apart, exposing dangerous parts like wires, springs, or sharp edges.
–    Toys should not have no small parts that could come off and be swallowed or otherwise misused, and make sure the toy itself is large enough that it cannot be swallowed or put into the nose or ears.
–    Every part of the toy, including all paint and decorations should be non-toxic.
–    Look out for points that your child could fall on, or strings or cards that are long enough to choke.
–    Stuffed toys should not be filled with potentially dangerous materials like small pellets.
–    Toys made with cloth should carry the labels “flame resistant,” “flame retardant,” or “nonflammable.”

Of course, as your child gets older and you can trust him or her to play safely, less of these checks will be necessary. It’s also important to keep track of your children’s toys, and broken toys should be either repaired or disposed of so that they don’t pose a danger. You should also make sure that the toy is age appropriate for your child.

For more toy safety information, check out our post on the toy industry’s safety certification program.

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