In a couple of months, schools will close for summer vacations, the kids will be spending much of their time cooking up a storm in their play kitchen, playing house with their baby dolls and enjoying some time on the family hoverboard. That is, of course, when they’re not nagging you to get out of the house, and just when you agree to let them tag along to the mall, you realize you cannot get much grocery shopping done because you’ve agreed to stop at their favorite toy store.
But while it can be hours of fun (for them) and an eventual smile on their face when you give into their nagging and opt to buy their silence for the rest of the family outing, our spontaneous and hasty purchase usually doesn’t consider just how dangerous a specific toy might be.
Kirstie Haslam, a partner at DSC Attorneys, says that an alarming number of dangerous children’s toys are available on store shelves and online, resulting in personal injuries and, in extreme cases, death.
When discussing these toys she mentions that parents should, for example, look out for toys that could be a choking hazard. Referencing the American Journal for Justice and quoting Rachel Weintraub, the legislative director and general counsel for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), she explained that choking is a leading type of toy injury as toys for children six and under often include small parts, and children get toys that are too big for them, despite the warning label.
She also mentioned that there are thousands of incidents of children swallowing very strong magnets, which pose a hidden hazard because the magnets are strong enough to rip through the oesophagus or small intestine if a child swallows more than one.
Riding toys also pose a threat as they are either ridden on the street or in a driveway where vehicles can’t see them. As such, off-highway vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVS), pose serious threats, citing that in 2015, ATVs killed at least 58 children under 16.
While new technology provides us with a whole new array of toys that are way more advanced than the Frisbees and paddle balls we had in our day, it also presents with new threats and risks, particularly if products are not properly assessed and issues are not addressed before they are put on the market.
Hoverboards, which are not considered toys, but children obviously interact with them. The traditional hoverboard hazard is the fall hazard, but the battery packs are more cause for concern – they’re new technology that poses a fire risk.
Most importantly, use your common sense when allowing toys into your home: handle the toy to see how sturdy it is and what the consequences could be of possible misuse, then make an informed decision.
Are there any other toys parents should look out for and potential hazards to avoid? Tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your comments.