Vol. 2 No. 4
It’s that time of year again. You know what we’re about to say—the holiday gifting season. For millions of children that means only one thing—new toys! And perhaps it even means a few new gizmos for your classrooms.
Toy safety is a critical component in risk management. According to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s 26th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, more than 250,000 kids went to emergency rooms last year with toy-related injuries. Choking hazards, toxins, and sharp edges can harm children of any age, so it’s important to remember a few tips when planning to bring new educational toys into your classrooms or homes.
- Make sure that toys in the classroom (and likewise in your toy boxes at home) are age appropriate. Toys that are for younger kids are not designed to be used the way an older child may handle them, and vice versa.
- Avoid toys that shoot objects. Even soft projectile pieces like those made from foam can be a hazard.
- Look for electronic toys that are UL-approved.
- Stuffed toys should be machine washable and laundered often to help reduce the spread of cold and flu germs. Also, check that fabric toys are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Art materials need to be non-toxic.
A list of unsafe toys for 2011 has already been published on the U.S. PIRG Toy Safety Web site. Some of them may come as a shock. Here’s a small sample from the full list.
- Dora the Explorer backpack
- Hello Kitty keychain
- Fruit in a Bag
- Claire’s boutique sleep mask
- Bright Stars travel book by Kids II Inc.
- Little Hands Love Book by Piggy Toes Press
For a complete list of recalled toys and more toy safety tips visit the U.S. PIRG Toy Safety Web site.