With the holidays fast approaching, many families are already shopping for toys from their children’s wish lists. And while this is a time of year many parents look forward to, it’s important to also remember that not all toys are created equal. Some, in fact, are much more dangerous than others. In the United States, roughly 217,000 children are treated at hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year, with one child being treated in the emergency room every three minutes for such injuries.
Parents and other family members buying toys this holiday season should always research a product thoroughly before purchasing to ensure they are buying from a reputable vendor and aware of any potential hazards (e.g., small parts). Even so, no parent can possibly know every detail about every toy out there, which is why we’re constantly treated to “most dangerous toy” lists. Some of these products have been recently recalled. Others remain popular despite warnings from news sites, consumer advocacy groups, and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Among the most dangerous toys to look out for this year are:
Riding Toys. While they don’t necessarily make every product recall list, scooters, wagons, and motor-powered vehicles for children cause an increasing number of injuries. Foot-powered scooters, which remain very popular, are especially dangerous, particularly when children ride them without safety gear like helmets and knee pads.
Power Wheels Barbie Campers. Fisher-Price recalled 44,000 of these battery-powered kids vehicles after discovering the devices can continue to run even when the foot petal has been released.
Soft Play’s Spider Climb Playground Climbers. Soft Play recently recalled about 200 of these because the climbing level platforms were designed too far apart and posed a risk of falling to children. There have been 37 incidents that resulted in 34 reports of injuries with this product.
Infant Sleepers and Bouncers. Multiple companies in 2019 have recalled sleepers and bouncers for infants due to safety hazards. Dorel Juvenile Group USA recalled its inclined sleepers after infant fatalities were reported due to babies rolling unrestrained while in the device. Stokke recalled its Infant Steps Bouncers due to a falling hazard. Meanwhile, Fisher-Price’s Rock ’n Play sleepers were recalled after reports of more than 30 infant deaths.
Crate and Barrel Push Walkers. The popular home goods store recalled these push walkers for children in August. Walkers can be damaged over time, exposing sharp points and small parts that pose laceration and choking hazards.
The above products are only a small sampling of the many toys out there that pose hazards to children. As a parent or caretaker, you can lessen the risk of your child’s injury by staying as current as possible on news of dangerous toys as well as shopping responsibly for products. For example, be wary of purchasing toys from unknown vendors on sites like eBay, where it’s difficult to properly vet either the seller and the product. Online shopping also increases the risk of buying counterfeit toys, which could be made with lower-quality methods and materials and pose dangers to children.
Parents should also be cautious even when buying from major manufacturers. Consumer advocacy group W.A.T.C.H. cautions them to not assume the toy is 100 percent guaranteed safe just because it comes from a well-known company. It is up to the parents and other adults buying these products to properly inspect them before placing them into the hands of their children.
We wish you a safe holiday season!