As mothers and fathers ourselves, the attorneys and staff at Kobs & Philley, PLLC understand the importance of our families’ safety. As the holiday season approaches, there is no better time to reiterate the need to be on alert for safe products and impose safeguards for the toys and other items purchased for our children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission just recently reported that the safeguards put in place in recent years are making a positive impact and helping to restore confidence in the safety of toys in the marketplace. The commission reports that the new toy safeguards include: establishing strict guidelines to limit lead content and lead paint in toys; limiting the use of certain phthalates; converting the voluntary toy standard into a mandatory standard; and tracking shipments from other countries through Customs and Border Protection data.
These safeguards have dramatically reduced the toys recalled since 2008. In 2010, there were only 44 toy recalls compared to 99 in 2009 and 172 in 2008.
In addition to the reduced number of toy recalls, toy-related fatalities were also reduced. The Commission reports that only 12 deaths were toy related in 2009 for children under 15, which is down from 24 in 2007 and 2008. As one can imagine, riding toys were associated with almost 60 percent of the reported deaths in 2009. So remember, requiring your kids to wear protective gear, such as helmets, while riding their toys along with proper parental supervision may just save your kids life.
Although the reported recalls and deaths have declined over the years, the number of toy-related injuries are increasing. In 2009, there were 186,000 emergency room visits from children who suffered toy related injuries, which is up from 152,000 in 2005. Therefore, the good news is that the commission’s safeguards are working, but there are still risks when children play with toys.
Based on this information, parents should not rely exclusively on the safeguards imposed by the commission and should enact their own safeguards. The Commission encourages parents to adopt a three-pronged safety approach:
1. Always choose age appropriate toys for your children;
2. Always include the safety gear when purchasing ride-on toys such as bicycles, skates and scooters; and 3. Properly supervise your children and be aware of their surroundings during play. Keep your children away from automobile traffic, pools and ponds. Also, avoid allowing them to play indoors in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and in rooms with corded window blinds.
For more information on safety tips and on product recalls, check out the Commission’s webpage at www.cpsc.gov.