The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today issued guidelines that holiday shoppers can follow-to help insure that the toys they buy till be safe for the child intended. The guidelines are based upon one central message: buy the right toy for a child based upon his or her age, skill and ability.
The guidelines are being promoted this holiday season through a nationwide Toy Safety Campaign, sponsored jointly by CPSC and the Toy Manufacturers of America, the toy industry trade association. Unlike past campaigns, however, the 1981 effort till also involve members of the U.S. Congress and their spouses. Congress persons are being asked to use their network of district offices to get information on toy safety to shoppers at the local levels.
Co-chairpersons of the campaign are two Nancys -- Mrs. Nancy Thumtond, wife of Senator Strom Thumond (R-S.C.), and Mrs. Nancy Haney Steorts, CPSC Chairman.
According to CPSC, there are over 150,000 toy products on the market. Making the proper selection of a toy sometimes is a difficult decision for consumers. Although certain children's products are required to meet mandatory federal safety specifications, serious accidents can occur if toys are not selected with the right child in mind or used under adult supervision.
Based upon hospital emergency room reports monitored by CPSC in 1980, more than 329,000 children under the age of 15 were hurt while riding their bicycles. Another 30,000 children under 15 were injured through the use of sleds. Accidents involving skates accounted for 80,000 injured to kids under 15; another 31,200 injuries resulted from using skateboards.
CPSC also estimates that every year, between 125,000 and 130,000 children receive injuries requiring hospital emergency room treatment from accidents involving toys.
The following are CPSC's guidelines for selecting a safe toy:
- Select toys to suit the skills, abilities and interests of the individual child. Toys intended for children under eight 'years must meet more stringent federal safety requirements than toys designed for older children. Toys intended for children under three by law cannot include any parts small enough to be swallowed or to become lodged in a child's windpipe, ears or nose.
- Be a label reader took for and heed age recommendations, such as "Not recommended for children under three." Look for other safety labels such as '"Flame retardant/Flame: resistant."
- Make sure that all instructions are clear to you -- and when appropriate, to the child.
- Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, before they become deadly playthings.
- Toys with long strings or cords are not recommended for infants and very young children because they can cause strangulation.
- Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old.
- Arrows or darts used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips. Check to be sure the tips are secure.
- when buying toy guns and caps, be wary of those that can produce sounds at noise levels that can damage hearing. Federal law requires this warning on boxes of caps producing Loud noises: "Warning- Do not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not use indoors." It is recommended that children too young to understand this warning not be givers these caps.
CTSC also recommends the following steps to promote toy safety in the home.
- Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. A toy that cannot be repaired should be thrown away immediately.
- Teach children to put their toys safely away on shelves or in other storage areas after playing to prevent trips and falls. Many accidents occur when toys are left out causing someone to fall.
- Take care to explain to children bow to use their toys properly and how to take care of them.
- Keep toys designed for older children out of the hands of little ones. Chemistry sets, hobby items and toys with small parts can be extremely dangerous if used by younger children.
- Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons in cribs or playpens where children can become entangled.
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: