There are certain situations in which we’re naturally alerted to risk. For instance, parents who take small children swimming are generally aware of the risk of drowning, so they pay careful attention and take precautions. There are other situations, however, in which we don’t realize there’s a risk until something bad happens.
Below is a list of common hazards associated with children’s toys from the nonprofit World Against Toys Causing Harm and a few examples of situations to watch out for. There’s no sense in being paranoid, but being aware of what might occur can help you keep your kids safe by responding quickly and effectively when trouble strikes.
• Choking Hazards
Look out for small component parts, loose parts and fragile or shoddily constructed toys. This includes eyes on dolls and stuffed animals and squeakers on squeeze toys.
• Puncture Wound Hazards
Watch out for sharp toys or brittle things that could become sharp once broken. Splintery or unsanded wood opens up possibilities for splinters. If kids are outside, natural toys like sticks and shells can be sharp enough to break the skin.
• Strangulation Hazards
Keep toys with cords, strings, loops and ribbons away from young kids and make sure none hang over the crib or playpen.
• Eye Injury Hazards
Projectile-launching toys are especially hazardous, as are fireworks. Laser pointers can also cause optical damage.
• Flammability Hazards
Be alert around campfires, fireworks and candles. Supervise kids closely if they’re trying to make fire with a magnifying glass, flint or similar apparatus – they might just succeed.
• Poisoning + Chemical Hazards
Be mindful of lead and other toxins released by some plastic toys. Also opt for clays, goos and other pliable materials that are safe to eat, just in case an unwise child gets any ideas.
• Falling and Tripping Hazards
Look for tree roots, wires, uneven terrain, rickety steps, untied shoe laces and too-long pants. Your kids can also literally trip on their own toys, so do your best to keep things passably tidy.
• Blunt Injury Hazards
Watch out for “bumper” toys that encourage kids to run into each other and anything else that encourages forceful contact. Many of these toys are not guaranteed to prevent injury.
• Electrical Hazards
If toys are not designed to maintain surface temperatures within established limits or if batteries leak, kids can sustain burns or electrical shock.
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