Whether shopping for your own children or buying gifts for other little ones in your life such as nieces, nephews and grandchildren, paying attention to safety labels helps keep kids safe. Some products create hazards for very young children while others are generally unsafe and should stay on the shelf rather than under your tree.
Follow these safe shopping tips to prevent product injury this holiday season.
The federal Consumer Products Safety Commission maintains guidelines for toy safety and manufacturer labeling standards. For example, do not purchase toys with small parts that present a choking hazard for children younger than 3. Follow these recommendations to avoid buying a dangerous toy for a toddler. Even seemingly innocuous items can potentially break into smaller, hazardous pieces. For kids younger than school-age, avoid small magnets, which are especially dangerous.
Read the label
Age is not the only important component of a product label. Make sure all art supplies you purchase for children feature a “non-toxic” label. Any toys made from fabric should be either flame-resistant or flame-retardant. The country of manufacture also matters. Many products from China make it into stores with an unsafe level of lead paint. Secondhand toys may also be a source of lead exposure. Ideally, buy new items made in the United States or Europe.
Provide safety equipment
Ride-on toys like bikes and skateboards are a fun way for kids of all ages to get exercise and fresh air. Before you purchase this gift, though, plan to also buy an appropriately sized helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. Children are at risk of traumatic brain injury if they suffer a fall without a helmet.
Avoid purchasing a toy that has been subject to a safety recall. You can check the list at the CPSC website if you are not sure whether a toy is safe.
According to CPSC, more than 250,000 children had treatment in the emergency room for a toy-related injury. Parents may have a legal claim in this situation if the dangerous toy was defective or had an inaccurate or missing label.