By Nico Strydom
On the surface toys offer a wonderful way to keep children busy and can even be educational, but there are also toys that could be dangerous.
Kirstie Haslam of DSC Attorneys, an attorney’s firm that specialises in personal injuries, says dangerous toys are available online and in shops and can harbour hidden dangers that expose children to injuries and even death. “It is therefore crucial to be vigilant when buying toys.”
The American non-governmental organisation World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) recently issued its annual list of dangerous toys. According to Haslam, the report lays emphasis on some of the general safety hazards that reappear year after year. These include poorly designed toys, as well as contradictory and inadequate warnings and indications of age-appropriateness.
Among others the report refers to projectile toys that can fire small particles with enough force to cause eye injuries. Reference is also made to toys that encourage children to jump or ride, with the potential to cause head injuries. “Some of these toys are sold without the correct safety equipment, or are marketed with contradictory safety messages.”
Many toys have dangerous designs, including removable parts, toxic substances, inaccurate warnings and labels.
According to Haslam, toys have caused many deaths, injuries and even disabilities among children because of their poor design and not having been properly tested. “It is a cause of concern, as a lot the toy-related injuries are preventable,” she adds. “In South Africa thousands of potentially dangerous toys end up on shops’ shelves and in the hands of children due to the lack of legislation that would ensure that toys that are being sold are safe.”
Hints to buying the correct and safe toys for your children:
- Make sure the toys are age-appropriate.
- Throw away the packaging after a toy has been opened, as it could also be dangerous.
- Check if a toy has small removable parts that could fit in a small child’s mouth and could cause him or her to choke.
- Toys manufactured with material, must be marked as fire-resistant.
- Paint on any toy must be lead-free.
- Synthetic material should not be toxic.
- Toys that work with batteries should contain a safe storage place for the batteries so that children cannot have access to them.
- Toys for riding on can be purchased as soon as a child can sit upright without support.
DCS Attorneys: https://www.dsclaw.co.za/
U.S. Pirg: https://uspirg.org/page/usp/avoiding-dangerous-toys
Healthy Children: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/How-to-Buy-Safe-Toys.aspx