Nothing says holiday season like perusing the toy aisle of your local department store or scrolling the toy section of your favorite online retailer. It’s the time of year when parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles begin to fulfill the wishes of the children in their lives. However, when purchasing for the special child in your life, it is important that you keep in mind the safety of toys you’re buying.
A newly released report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in 2017 more than 251,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The incidences from 2017 represent a major increase over previous years. These injuries include lacerations, contusions, and abrasions. In addition, children risk the chance of coming into contact with poisonous substances through toys.
Toys can come with very serious risks to children of all ages. For example, toys can contain high levels of lead or parts that may cause choking or asphyxiation in very young children. It’s important that parents know the dangers associated with the risk of the gifts they are purchasing for their children. It is equally important that parents check the recall status of both new and used toys. Toy recalls occur throughout the year and while some toys may need to be recalled they may not have been. Reading up on the toys you are purchasing for your children is a necessary part of holiday safety.
Parents can avoid the emergency room visits and other devastating events, by choosing kid-safe toys this holiday season.
In 2018, slime toys are all the rage among young kids. With toys like unicorn poop available, it is important to keep an eye on the labels of these toys. For example, many slime products contain high levels of toxic boron. But that is no reason to stay away from purchasing slime for the kiddo in your life. Purchasing safe slime products can save you a trip to the E.R. or a call to poison control.
If slime is on your child’s wish list then we recommend Essenson’s Fluffy Slime. This jumbo slime is fun to swirl, pop, squeeze and stretch. In addition, it will keep your child occupied for hours. It also a great stress reliever. Parents can rest assured that product’s non-toxic formula will not irritate your child’s skin or eyes.
Available on Amazon for $9.99.
With their pretty colors and magical presence, unicorns have been an enduring childhood favorite. However, more companies are banking on unicorn colors in slime. If the girl or boy in your life has unicorn poop on their list, check out GoodGoodStudy’s Blue and Pink Cloud slime with Unicorn toy. This product is non-sticky, non-toxic and completely safe for both kids and adults.
*Neither of these products are recommended for children under 3.
Fidget spinners are available practically everywhere, and their popularity among young children hasn’t waned much since they first hit the scene. But these seemingly innocent toys are linked to chipped teeth, cuts, bruises, and damaged property. Kids can also trick out or “mod” their spinners by duct taping razor blades or other hazards to the spinner’s spokes. Fortunately, there are alternatives to fidget spinners.
WeFidget Fidget Pad
The Fidget Pad offers several fidgeting functions for fidgeters. For example, kids can glide, click, roll, massage, shift, flip and spin this little toy. This little gadget is designed for two hand fidgeting and can’t be modified with spinning duct taped razor blades.
Available on Amazon for $9.95.
Remokids Fidget Toys
This fidget toy is designed with 11 fidget features. This toy allows kids (and adults) to discreetly fidget with this gadget in their pockets. Your kids can enjoy joysticks and a toggle switch.
Available on Amazon for $9.99.
Toys that Hatch
Hatchimals were all the rage both Christmas 2016 and 2017. However, a recent makeover has breathed new life into Hatchimal craze. Hatchibabies are on every retailer’s Holiday “must have” toys. But these cute, innocent toys can be deadly to younger children. When these toys hatch, they produce small shards from the egg that may be choking hazards. It is important for adults to monitor the entire hatching process and clean up and dispose of broken pieces. Hatchibabies also come with small pieces.
If your kids are too young to responsibly enjoy Hatchimals or Hatchibabies, consider purchasing them a Buddy Ball. While it isn’t an electronic toy, this ball can turn into a stuffed bear over and over again. This toy also meets and exceeds toy safety standards of the U.S. Children’s Products Safety Commission.
Available on Amazon for $19.99-39.99.
While Pomsies don’t hatch, they do allow for kids to interact with them much like a Hatchimal. These cute little critters can be loved on and sing a happy song when dancing. Pomises packaging is easy to open and doesn’t involve any hatching with small, easily swallowed pieces.
Available on Amazon for $14.99
Another favorite to gift, makeup carries several risks. For example, Claire’s makeup has been associated with asbestos. It’s best to avoid makeup as a gift for children. However, if makeup is on a child dear to you’s wish list, avoid makeup with talc in it. Talcum may be a source of asbestos.
Little Cosmetic Pretend Makeup
In addition to the possibility of containing dangerous minerals, real makeup may irritate your child’s skin. However, that is where Little Cosmetic’s Pretend Makeup Signature Set is here to keep your child safe this holiday season. This is not makeup real makeup, but instead is fake makeup that allows kids to enjoy the idea of putting on makeup and using their imagination.
Available on Amazon for $19.99.
Toys with magnets
When swallowed, magnets can wreak havoc on your insides. In some cases, these magnets can bunch together and lead to preventable surgeries, debilitating injuries, gastrointestinal damage, and other lifelong health problems. Many magnetic toys contain pieces small enough that may break off and become a hazard to young children. In general, it’s best not to put these gifts under the Christmas tree.
Bristle Blocks Stackadoos
If you have a child who is interested in building and already has every Lego set, the Bristle Blocks Stackadoos offers a great alternative to regular building blocks. Your child can use their imagination to execute any structure they can dream up. (Not recommended for children under 2.)
Available at Target for $14.39.
Dinosaur Construct and Play
Another alternative to toys with magnets is the Kidtastic Dinosaur Construct and Play. This toy allows children to take apart these dinosaurs and promote creativity and imagination. The dinosaur comes with more than 106 pieces and comes fully assembled. The beginners engineering kit includes a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Alamosaurus and Triceratops.
Available at Amazon for $35.99.
From LOL Dolls to Shopkins, small toys are more than likely the kid in your life’s toy of choice. These toys are often marketed to ages 6 and over, but younger siblings may be at risk. If a toy can fit through a toilet paper roll, it is a potential choking hazard. It is important for parents to pay attention to age guidelines and carefully watch over younger siblings interested in playing with their older siblings.
While Fingerlings aren’t of the mini-variety, they are a pocket-sized friend your child can carry around. Fingerlings come in a variety of characters including unicorns, dragons, monkeys, T-Rex, and pandas. Your children can interact with these toys in a variety of ways. For example, your child can pet them, make them talk, rock them to sleep and other activities.
Available at Walmart starting at $6.97.
Ride-on toys are largely considered the most dangerous toys among kids. One study found that every hour, approximately 18 children are sent to the emergency room for toy-related injuries. The biggest culprit is ride-on toys such as scooters, wagons, tricycles, and motor powered kiddie vehicles.
Further, the number of ride-on injuries has continued to grow with the introduction Hoverboards. Hoverboards continue to be a must-have item for kids around the globe. Between overheating batteries and falls, these toys are responsible for thousands of injuries in just the two years they’ve been available for purchase. More than half of these injuries occurred amongst boys, with 12-year-old boys accounting for the highest number of injuries. Luckily, there are many safe alternatives to the standard ride-on toy wish lists.
The Pewi is a safe ride-on or push-bike for children ages 9 months to 3 years. This versatile bike allows for small children to ride, push, sit and supports early walking efforts. In addition, it allows children to improve and develop important motor and cognitive skills.
Available on Amazon for $52.67.
It is important to understand just how much data is stored in digital devices. A hack of any scale can put your child at risk for identity theft and other safety concerns. These toys don’t come with the same physical risks that others on our list do. However, toys that connect to the internet can violate your child—and your family’s privacy. These devices may collect private data from your child and some have the potential to be hacked. Parents should consider if these toys can be used without an internet connection, evaluate privacy policies and most importantly, monitor their child’s use.
We’re not saying this because we’re nostalgic 90s kids, the truth is that Nintendo Switch is the ideal smart toy. Nintendo does a great job with privacy, security and parental controls. In addition, you can delete any data that the device stores on your children.
Available at various retailers starting at $299.
iPads & iPods
It sounds ridiculous to purchase an expensive Apple product for a child, however, if you are in the market for a tablet for your kid, Apple security breaches are few and far in between. There are tons of educational apps available for your child to play, it can be set up with parental control and other security measures to protect your child. In addition, these devices can last for years. Just make sure you purchase a durable case to protect your investment.
Purchase an iPad Mini at Walmart for as low as $149.99.
What makes toys dangerous?
While this list contains alternatives to some of the most popular toys this holiday season, we recognize that all children are individuals. For this reason, it is difficult to make a blanket determination about what toys are safe for your children. Parents should always use their best judgment and remember that unsafe toys may be determined by the following:
- Design flaws
- Toy defects
- Improper labeling
- Detachable choking hazards
- High-speed projectiles
- Age-related risks
- Child’s maturity
- Battery acid leaks
- Privacy concerns
Used or older toys
It’s not unheard of for parents to purchase like new toys instead of shelling out full price for an item your child will likely play with for a few months to a year. (We’re speaking from experience, here.) However, even though we totally support saving a few extra dollars, you should always ensure that your child’s toys are not part of a recall due to potential hazards.
Toddlers have many risks of choking on small parts because they are more inclined to put toys in their mouths. On the hand, older children face greater risks from defective toys like scooters or tricycles. In 2017, 13 children died as the result of injuries sustained from toys.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
The holiday season is the perfect time to evaluate the safety of your child’s toys. Because more than a quarter of a million children visit the ER each year, it is important that parents stay in the know of what risks to watch out for. However, the unseen and unpredictable risks are the risks that pose the most danger to your children. Defective toys and other children’s products can put children at risk for living with long-term injuries.
If your child suffered injuries from a dangerous toy, contact a child injury lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm. Our legal experts can help you determine the next step in your child’s recovery process.