List of Top Holiday Safety Tips Released, CPSC, AARP ask consumers to pay attention to age labels

November 14, 2006
Release Number: 07-032

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Ask any kid why, and getting toys is often a top reason. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and AARP are working together to make this holiday season a safe one by warning all gift givers about the five toy hazards that can take all the fun out of any celebration.

CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord was joined today at a press conference on toy safety in Washington, D.C. by Amy Goyer, National Coordinator, Grandparenting, AARP Foundation.

"AARP, which represents millions of older Americans with grandkids is an organization with a vital interest in toy safety," said Nord. "We're joining forces to make sure all toy shoppers are aware of this year's top toy safety tips to help reduce injuries and deaths."

Here are CPSC's Top Safe Shopping Tips for this year:

- Magnets – For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

- Small Parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

- Ride-on Toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.

- Projectile Toys – Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.

- Chargers and Adapters – Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

CPSC also recommends using the following tips to help choose appropriate toys for children:

- Be a label reader. Look for toy labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide.

- Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.

- For all children under 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Once the gifts are open:

- Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things.

- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings or neighbors.

- Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.

CPSC has reports of 20 toy-related deaths involving children under age 15 that occurred in 2005. Nine of these deaths occurred when a child choked or aspirated on a small ball or other toy parts. Also, in 2005 an estimated 152,400 children under 15 years old were treated for toy-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The majority of these injuries were not the result of a recalled or dangerous product. Instead, injuries from riding toys such as falls, made up a significant number of the injuries.

Consumers who have already purchased gifts should make sure they check that their gift lists do not include any of the recalled toys or children's products on CPSC's Web site. Check for product recalls on this web site.

Also, at this web site, consumers can keep up-to-date on dangerous products by signing up to have recall announcements sent directly to their email account. Choose to receive all recall announcements or just children's product recalls only. Consumers also can call CPSC's toll-free hotline at (800) 638-CPSC. For information about all types of recalls, visit www.recalls.gov