Typically the annual accident statistics in the UK are that more than a Million accidents to children between the ages 0 - 14 result in accident & emergency hospital treatments. In the US this figure is considerably more due to the higher population. Many more are not reported and obviously some tragic cases involve serious disability or death.
Children should be encouraged to play and learn and to use toys. However, safety should always be considered when purchasing these.
Read the information below to help minimise safety hazards from children's toys.
Safety Tips for Children's Toys
- Children under 3 years of age are most at risk
- Buy flame retardant or non-flammable toys
- Make sure loose parts (e.g. eyes from stuffed toys) cannot come off and become a choking hazard
- Only give younger children toys that have parts that are too big to swallow since young children always put things in their mouths.
- Only buy toys from reputable outlets
- Do not buy 'dart' or shooting toys.
- Ensure toys are not poisonous (e.g. crayons and paint). Words such as 'non-toxic' or 'child friendly' is an indication they are safe but check safety certications.
- Toys are marked with the intended age range. Only purchase toys for your child's age range.
- If you have older children or have friends with older children, be aware that some of these toys can pose a serious hazard to your younger child. Loose hair and small parts or sharp pointy edges are an obvious example of things to look out for.
- Check the label has the relevant safety standard markings. In the UK the 'CE' mark which means that the manufacturer is stating it meets all requirements of the EC Toy Safety Directive. Also in the UK there is a voluntary British Toy and Hobby Association's 'Lion Mark'.
- To reduce trip hazards try to encourage children to play with one toy, put it away, then play with another. This keeps the house tidy and reduces trip hazards which account for many injuries.
- Batteries in toys should always be installed correctly as per the manufacturers guidelines. Never recharge ones not intended to be recharged and avoid toys with the small mercury disc batteries for swallowing reasons. Don't allow children to charge batteries.
- Never allow toys to be left on stairs due to the obvious issue of the potential trip hazard.
- Always buy washable toys that can be sanitized