Toy-Related Injuries Occur Every Three Minutes in the United States
Many toys contain hidden dangers that place children at risk. Toy related accidents are largely preventable. It’s important to understand common toy hazards in buying toys for children. This is why we recently wrote an article on toy shopping tips for parents.
Known hazards include poorly designed toys, inconsistent and inadequate warnings, and inaccurate or missing age recommendations.
World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H) recently released its nominees for the 10 Worst Toys of 2019 in November 2019. Concerns highlighted this year include projectile toys, toys with the potential for head injuries, and toys that create choking or strangulation dangers. Many of these hazards are classic safety issues that continue to appear year and year in new toys. Poorly designed toys have resulted in many deaths, disfigurements, and disabilities.
W.A.T.C.H.’s 2019 list includes:
1. Nerf Ultra One – it’s marketing materials state that the toy shoots its projectiles up to 120 feet with “powerful speed” making it the “farthest flying nerf dart ever.” The product contains the warning that there is potential for eye injuries.
2. Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog – comes with 12 removable plastic quills that can cause choking. The product does not contain warnings of this hazard and its age recommendation is 18 months or older.
3. Bunchems Bunch’n Build – these multi-colored activity balls are designed to stick together to let children build multiple designs. The product contains the warnings that the toy has a choking hazard and the potential for hair entanglement. It is recommended for ages 3 and up.
4. Yeti – The Yeti is a soft ape-like stuffed toy with long hair fibers. The hair presents a hazard for ingestions and aspirations injuries because the long hairs are not properly rooted in the toy. There are no warnings on the toy about these hazards.
5. Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime – this toy slime looks like some of children’s favorite tasty treats such as a soft serve ice cream and smoothies. The product has ample warnings that it is not real food, contains chemical hazards if ingested and should only be used under adult supervision. These harmful chemicals combined with the appearance of real food should cause adults to pass on purchasing this toy.
6. Anstoy Electronic Toy Gun – this product looks like a real submachine gun. Numerous tragedies have occurred when children have had realistic looking weapons – these types of products should never be sold as toys.
7. Diecast School Bus – this metal miniature yellow school bus contains rubber tires that are mounted on plastic wheels that can be removed and create a potential choking hazard for small children. The product does contain a choking hazard warning.
8. Pogo Trick Board – is a balancing board with a high-bounce balls and a handle on each side. The manufacturer’s warnings state that there is a potential for head and impact injuries and advises users to wear helmets and other protective gear. However, only two of the three children shown on the packaging are wearing helmets and none are wearing any other protective gear.
9. Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw – the toy claws are made of rigid plastic that create a potential for eye and facial injuries. The manufacturers warnings state the toy should not be used to hit or swing at people or animals, although that is essentially the only thing the toy is good for.
10. Viga Pull Along Caterpillar – Industry standards require strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length to prevent strangulation hazards. However, pull-along toys are still allowed to be manufactured with longer strings. This toy contains a pull string that is 24 inches in length creating a strangulation hazard. There are no warnings advising consumers of this potential danger.
December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month
The U.S. Consumer Safety Commission (CPSC) has created an extremely stringent toy safety testing system, utilizing independent third-party testing laboratories around the world. The CPSC warns parents and others buying toys for children to be aware of common toy hazards.
Toy Safety Tips
- Deflated and broken balloons present choking hazards for children under eight years of age. Always discard broken balloons immediately.
- Use an empty toilet paper tube to check for choking hazards. If any parts of the toy will fit into the cardboard tube, it presents a choking hazard for children under age three. Avoid purchasing toys with small parts for children under age three.
- Riding toys and scooters present the potential for fall-related injuries. Children should always wear properly sized helmets and other protective gear when using ride-on toys, skateboard, scooters, and bicycles.
- Never purchase toys with magnets for small children. Serious injuries occur when magnets are swallowed.
- Discard plastic wrapping and toy packaging materials immediately when opened.
- Sharing is not always caring. Make sure toys for older children are kept away from younger children. Teach your older children to serve as protectors of their younger siblings.
- Always use adult supervision when charging batteries. Thermal battery burns are a common hazard for younger children. Also, keep in mind that many chargers do not have any mechanisms to prevent overcharging, which can result in fires.
Toy Safety Guides
The CPSC provides free safety alerts, guides, posters, brochures, handbooks, and other materials that you can use to help spread consumer product safety information in your community.
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