Toy safety

As you head out to the stores or go online to pick out toys for all the good girls and boys on your list, safety may be on your mind. Keep this guide close at hand as you shop, so you know the warnings to watch for, the dangers that the packages might not reveal, and the not-so-obvious hazards of some children's toys.

  1. Surprising choking hazards
    Watch for hidden choking hazards: small parts that might be untied and removed; poorly attached eyes and noses on stuffed animals; buttons that could be detached from a doll's clothing; wheels on cars, trucks, or trains.
  2. Magnets
    When magnets are small enough to be swallowed, they become more than just a choking hazard. If a child swallows more than one magnet, there is danger of the magnets attracting one another as they travel through the intestines. This can cause blockage, and the results can be fatal.
  3. Aspiration
    Another unexpected risk is doll hair or plush toy fur. If it is pulled out or falls out, the hair or fur from toys can get into the mouth and be breathed back into the lungs causing choking and air constriction.
  4. Makeup kits
    More and more toys designed to appeal to glamour girls are hitting the shelves. Makeup kits with eye shadows, nail polishes, and lip glosses can pose allergen risks or contain potentially toxic chemicals.
  5. Electricity and batteries
    Batteries may leak, and electrical toys could cause shock or fire. Battery- and electrically-operated toys should be used only by older children and always with an adult's supervision. Adults should change batteries in any toy.
  6. Strangulation
    Toys with strings, cords, or ropes could strangle a child if used improperly. Watch out for jewellery, toys with detachable or worn-down laces or cords, and toys with netting.
  7. Ordering toys online
    When you buy a toy online, you can't hold it in your hands, inspect it, or read warnings or indications listed on the packaging. Look for information on the site from which you're ordering, and if need be, call the vendor or the manufacturer for more facts.

Worried that one of your children's toys could be a safety risk? Get rid of it! And if a toy-safety emergency situation occurs, don't hesitate to call 9-1-1. These threats are nothing to play around with.

Amy Toffelmire