More than 2 million toys deemed dangerous or in violation of safety laws were seized at U.S. ports this year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In four years, CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized more than 8.5 million units of about 2,400 different toys and children's products for safety hazards or failing to meeting safety standards.
A new CPSC report estimated that nearly 200,000 children 15 years and younger were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2011. Non-motorized scooters caused the most injuries, often cuts and bruises to the child's face and head.
Here are some holiday safety tips:
- Balloons: Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons from children younger than 8. Discard broken balloons immediately.
- Small balls and toys with small parts: For children younger than 3, avoid these toys, which can cause choking.
- Scooters and riding toys: Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and sized to fit.
- Magnets: High-powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept from children under 14. Building and play sets with small magnets should be kept from small children.
Once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other packaging.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.