Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
With more than 65 percent of the toys bought in the United States between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas, parents and caregivers are heading into the country’s busiest toy-buying season.
But with millions of toys being recalled because of dangerous lead paint and magnets, toy shoppers need to remember that number is a small fraction of the overall number of toys -- approximately 3 billion -- sold in the United States every year. “Shoppers need to be even more informed than usual to make sure they buy safe, age-appropriate toys, said Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Even though most toys in the U.S. today are considered to be safe, it doesn’t mean we should throw caution to the wind.”
Email alerts keep shoppers up-to-date on recalls
Each year, approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide. But on average, only 15 children under the age of 14 die from a toy-related injury.
To stay informed, Stegelman recommends that parents sign up for emails that will keep them up-to-date on recalls. “If you get emails each time a recall happens, you’ll have everything up-to-the-minute and won’t need to worry about missing anything,” said Stegelman.
To sign up for recall emails, go to www.cpsc.gov and click on ‘Sign up for Email Announcements.’
Parents and caregivers shouldn’t hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. “If your child has a close call, the next child might not be so lucky,” says Stegelman. “Report safety concerns about toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall.
Avoid second-hand toys
Stegelman reminds parents that most toys are safe, especially if you buy from a reputable retailer. “That doesn’t mean you have to go to a ‘big box’ store, but if you shop a locally-owned toy store, make sure that the owner is aware and vigilant about getting recalled items off the shelves. And avoid used toys which could have been recalled and not removed from circulation.”
“If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons,” says Stegelman. “If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.”
Other precautions to take
Safe Kids Kansas also recommends:
For more information about toy safety, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
For more information visit www.kansassafekids.org.