I can vividly recall the expression on my son’s face when he woke up one Christmas morning several years ago and saw a slot car track under the tree. It was priceless. What child would not want to get an electric train or a slot car track for Christmas? However, electric toys pose several potential safety hazards, to include risk of electric shock, burns, and being cut on sharp edges and points, or otherwise being injured by moving parts.
To minimize these concerns, select an age appropriate toy, follow the directions, and supervise your child to ensure that he or she understands how to safely use the toy. Also, make sure that all electric toys are unplugged when not being used. It is important that infants and toddlers are kept out of the area when an electric toy is being used. Remember that the age recommendation is a minimum suggestion.
Toys with Strings, Cords, or Straps
Straps, cords, and strings, such as those on toy guitars, pose a serious hazard for young children if they become twisted around their necks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that parents cut off cords, strings, cords, and straps on toy guitars and other toys given to young children. If it will fit around the child’s neck, do not give it to him or her without first cutting off the strap, cord, or string. Failing to do so could result in strangulation.
Often used by manufacturers to prevent products from being scratched during shipping, plastic film also poses a choking hazard to children. Be sure to remove all such plastic film and properly dispose of it before allowing a child to play with or even handle a toy.
- Choose toys carefully. Read the labels, to include appropriate age recommendations and warnings.
- Periodically check all toys to make sure that they are not broken or potentially dangerous. Pay special attention to sharp edges or loose parts.
- Teach children to put their toys up when not in use, to prevent trips and falls.