Every time I hear that there is another toy recall, I think to myself – you have got to be kidding! How do these dangerous toys even get to the shelves and within reach of our curious children in the first place? Did the manufacturers realize that they were potentially harmful? Are there quality control measures to ensure this does not happen?
I personally know a sweet lady who is a mother of three little girls. When I was visiting with her one day, I noticed pictures of a little boy on the walls and asked who it was. She told me it was her son who had died at age three when a toy got stuck in his throat. His father had tried desperately to remove the lodged toy, but his attempts were fruitless, and the child succumbed. I was horrified and can only imagine how much they both suffered from this sad experience.
It is difficult to watch our children every minute, but we can make every attempt to remove any toys that could do harm from those that they play with every day. Your children also may receive toys as presents from well-meaning family members and friends for birthdays and holidays. How can you be sure that the toys you have in your home are safe for your children?
It is good to be aware of the CPSC US Consumer Product Safety Commission Homepage, which is where you can look to see if a particular toy has been recalled. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed so you will be able to see the latest recalls. If you know of any incident related to a toy injuring a child, you can also report it on this great site to help others.
Most recently the CPSC announced the recall of toy dark gun play sets that were sold at the Family Dollar Stores. Two children, aged 9 and 10 (both boys) put the soft darts into their mouths and accidentally inhaled them into their throats. Because of the suction cups, they were unable to get the darts removed and the children died of asphyxiation. Children of all ages can be harmed if they are not careful with toys.
Another suggestion is to pay attention to age recommendations on toys. They are put on the packages for a reason. You may think your child is old enough to play with a toy that is made for an older child, but toys with small or removable parts can cause injuries or asphyxiation. Some older children also still like to put things in their nose, ears and mouths, so you are the best judge to know what is appropriate for them.
If a toy is broken, it is best to throw it away immediately. Be aware of what is in your toy box. If tiny or broken pieces of toys are present, clean them out.
If your child receives a toy as a present or you have purchased one that they wanted, you should try hard to break it (do not do it in front of the child, however). If you can yank on the stuffed animals eyes and they are loose, they could come off and get lodged in the child’s throat. Try to think of ways in which your child may use it and test to see if the toy will fall apart. You can also test all toy gifts since they were not given with the intention to harm the child. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If you buy secondhand or garage sale toys, test them to see that they are safe for your child. It is ultimately up to the parents to check out the toys their children play with to ensure their safety.
Teaching your children the proper way to play with their toys will also educate them so they can play safely. It is not just enough to tell them not to point a toy dart gun at another child. It is also important to think of other ways that the toy may be harmful to them.
It is not only cheap toys that have been recalled, but recently there have been several well-known toy companies that have recalled toys. Just as an example, Step 2 recalled Buggy Toys because the pin that holds the handle on loosens and it detaches posing a danger to a child. These toys have been sold for over ten years and were made in the United States.
Another well-known toy maker, Gund, have recently recalled their Paperboard Baby Books because the styrofoam in the binding can detach and choke a child. These books were made in China and have been available since January 2009.
A company that makes wind chimes for babies recently recalled their Tiny Love Wind Chime product because a two-year-old baby punctured his cheek with a sharp rod that became exposed when he pulled the chime apart. These were also manufactured in China.
Another Step 2 toy that has been found to be a hazard is the Basic Rhythms Drums. The plastic clips that attach the drumsticks can break off and be a choking hazard.
Many parents may have these toys in their homes, but not be aware of the toy recalls. Parents purchase toys that are supposed to encourage development and positive growth in their children, either physically or mentally. It is best to study out the safety of toys beforehand to make sure you are investing in toys that will be safe for your children as well.