Buy safe toys for a happier holiday season. That's the message the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is spreading to consumers who will be purchasing toys this year.
The CPSC has these recommendations for buying safe toys for children:
Keep in mind the child's age, interests and skill levels.
Look for quality in design and construction in all toys.
Make sure that all instructions are clear to you, and, more importantly, to the child.
Read the labels. Look for and heed manufacturers' age recommendations, such as "Recommended for children three to five years". Look for other safety labels such as "Non- toxic" on painted toys, "Flame-retardant/Flame-resistant" on fabric products and "Washable hygienic materials" on stuffed toys and dolls.
Avoid toys that are too complex for very young children.
Watch out for toys that have sharp edges, small parts or sharp points.
Toys of brittle plastic or glass can be broken easily, exposing dangerous sharp, cutting edges. Wooden, metal and plastic toys sometimes have sharp edges, due to poor construction.
Tiny toys and toys with small removable parts can be swallowed or become lodged in a child's windpipe, ears or nose. The squeakers in some squeeze toys can be removed and possibly swallowed. Seams of poorly constructed stuffed dolls or animals can break open and release small pellets that might also be swallowed or inhaled.
Care and caution should be exercised in the selection of any products which can discharge or propel darts, vehicles, or other objects. It is the use and the possible rnisuse of such products that can contribute greatly to the hazards and the number of injuries, particularly eye injuries, that are associated with projectiles.
Projectiles include a diverse array of products. They comprise such categories as sophisticated gas, air and spring-operated guns, the archery group, toy guns and other toy weapons with projectiles, blow guns and pea shooters, toy bow and arrow sets, sling shots, and sling-propelled and air-propelled toys.
Even though their intended uses may vary widely, there is a common danger in both the use and the misuse of any of these products, the possibility of injury from a propelled object. Many factors contribute to such a possibility, for instance, the age of the user, the intended use of the product and the likelihood and consequences of any misuse, whether deliberate or unintentional.
Broken toys may sometimes expose dangerous prongs and needle-sharp points. Pins and staples on dolls' clothes, hair and accessories can easily puncture an unsuspecting child. Even stuffed animals or dolls may have barbed eyes or wired limbs which can cut or stab. Also avoid toys that produce extremely loud noises that may damage hearing.
The CPSC offers a number of publications on toy safety. In general, ten copies or less of fact sheets and most other publications listed below can be obtained free of charge by writing the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207. These publications may also be requested through the toll-free CPSC Hotline at 800/638-2772. More than 10 copies are available for sale from: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. GPO's stock number and price follow in parentheses after each publication listing.
The following is a list of the CPSC toy safety publications:
* Bill's Eye (Poster) (#052-011-00092-2; $2.65 for 25 copies)
* Electrically Operated Toys (Fact Sheet No. 61) (#052-011-00059-l; $2.65 for 50 copies)
For Kids' Sake...Think Toy Safety (Illustrated Pamphlet) (#052-011-00133-3; $2.40 for 50 copies) Also in Spanish
For Kids' Sake...Think Toy Safety (Coloring Book) (#052-011-00134-l; $5.00 for 25 copies) Also in Spanish
For Kids' Sake...Think Toy Safety-Adult Discussion Guide (Booklet with mini-posters) (#052-011-00148-l; $2.40 for one copy)
For Kids' Sake...Think Toy Safety (Poster) (#052-011-00091-4; $2.85 for 25 copies)
Little Leon the Lizard-Classroom Activities Guide for the Teacher (Booklet with Poster Insert) (#052-003-00293-l; $.70 for one copy)
Little Leon the Lizard - Toy Safety Curriculum (Booklet) #052-003-00292-2; $.60 for one copy)
Safe Use of Electrical Toys (Illustrated Pamphlet) (#052-011-00004-3; $2.50 for 50 copies)
* Toys (Fact Sheet No. 47) (#052-011-00127-9; $2.75 for 50 copies)
The following list is a compilation of CPSC publications on bicycles:
* Bicycles(Fact Sheet No. 10) (#052-011-00005-1; $2.65 for 50 copies)
Bicycle Regulations (Technical Fact Sheet No. 5) (#052-011-00088-4; $2.60 for 50 copies)
Bicycles-Buy Right/Drive Right (Illustrated Brochure) (#052-011-00173-2; $3.50 for 25 copies)
Bicycling--Fun with Safety (Illustrated Pamphlet) (#052-011-00102-3; $2.25 for 50 copies)
Bicycle Compliance Test Manual (Technical tests for the bicycle standard) #052-003-00144-6; $2.45 per copy)
Bicycle Curriculum: Student Reading No. 3s (#052-011-00099-0; $3.00 for 50 copies)
Bicycle Curriculum: Teachers Guide No. 3T (#052-011-00100-7; $.50 per copy)
* A Bicycle Built for You (Elementary School Curriculum with spirit masters) (#052-011-00141-4; $2.00 for one copy)
Bike Ed '77 - A Conference Report on the National Bicycle Safety Education Conference (Booklet) (# 052-011-00150-3; $3.00 for one copy)
Bicycle Safety Education: A Guide to Resources and Materials (Booklet) #052-011-00151-1; $2.20 for one copy)
Bike Maintenance Isn't Child's play (Poster) (#052-011-00093-l; $2.85 for 25 copies)
Frequently Asked Questions About the Bicycle Regulations (Brochure) (#052-011-00101-5; $6.50 for 50 copies)
How Sharp is Your Bike? (Poster) (#052-011-00095-7; $2.55 for 25 copies)
Reflectors are Protectors (Poster) (#052-011-00096-5; $2.55 for 25 copies)
Sprocketman (Comic Book) (#052-011-00174-l; $3.50 for 10 copies)
Your Life Rides on Your Tires (Poster) (#052-011-00094-9; $2.55 for 25 copies).
Items marked with an asterisk are no longer available from CPSC. Copies are available for sale from the Government Printing Office.
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
For lifesaving information: