Letters to the Editor

Be aware of hidden dangers in toys

Although there have been great improvements to product safety, an alarming number of children are the victims of toy-related injuries in the U.S. each year. As the holiday shopping season nears, toy safety needs to be considered as adults head out to buy gifts for small children.

The Washington Public Interest Research Group (WashPIRG) has released its 25th Annual “Trouble in Toyland” toy safety report bit.ly/gjmYL5 that outlines things parents should consider.

To avoid choking hazards, see if a toy – or any part of a toy – can fit entirely into a toilet paper tube. If it can, it shouldn’t be given to small children. Balls and similar round objects should be at least 1.75 inches in diameter for children under 3 years of age. Because balloons and pieces of balloon can completely block a child’s airway, parents should never give balloons to children under 8.

Beware of the hidden dangers of harmful chemicals such as lead, phthalates (used to make plastic toys softer) and antimony (a carcinogenic used as a coating on some toys).

WashPIRG also has an online tool at toysafety.mobi where you can check out how safe a toy is using your smart phone. Although most toys are safe, parents should take advantage of these tools that help them determine what’s right for their children.

Steve Breaux



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