More than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the U.S. every year. "Most toys are safe, but people need to take precautions, even at the point-of-sale, to look for what potential dangers could exist and ultimately 'shop smart'," says Bobbi Paper, Safe Kids Fargo/Moorhead coordinator.
Tips for shoppers and parents:
- Buy toys that are age-appropriate. At home, if you have more than one child, keep toys separated so toys for older children are kept out of reach of the younger children.
- Read and follow recommendations. Make sure children play with or use the toys as designed by manufacturers.
- Check toys for potential hazards. Go through new toys, as well as old toys every few months and purge out any that are broken or are no longer safe.
- Magnets can be dangerous. Small magnets like those found in magnetic building sets and other toys can seriously harm children if two or more are swallowed.
- Home lead test kits are unreliable. It is better to check recall lists, or check with the manufacturer.
- Keep up to date on recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, cpsc.gov, has a full listing of recalled children's products and instructions for parents on what to do with recalled items.
- Be aware of your children's toys so if a recall occurs you know if your child has that toy.