It’s hard enough to get through the holiday season as a parent without having to worry about the toys you’re buying your children turning out to be hazardous to their health. Sometimes, with recall notices pouring into the news, it’s easy to think that nothing is safe any more. But, toy recalls are actually down in 2010.
There were only 44 in the 2010 fiscal year (which ended in September 30th), down from 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008. And the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission only received reports of 12 toy-related deaths of children under age 15 in calendar year 2009, down from 24 fatalities in 2007 and in 2008. That being said, the number of toy related emergency room visits is actually rising, with an estimated 185,900 kids under 15 (90,600 of these under age 5) being brought to emergency departments with toy-related injuries in 2009.
“Less than 0.2% of the estimated 3 billion toys sold each year in the United States are recalled,” Joan Lawrence, vice president of standards and government affairs for the Toy Industry Association told Forbes.com. “The recall system is a critical safety net,” she adds.
But you don’t want your kid to be the one whose injury or death causes a recall, so its important to closely consider toys you bring home for potential hazards.
“Recalls often happen years down the line, well after the toys are in the marketplace,” James Swartz, director of an organization called World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) told Forves. “Unfortunately we’ve seen a lot of the same types of hazards recurring.”
As a rule of thumb, the CPSC recommends avoiding toys with small parts, inflatable balloons and magnets for small children. Checking out the ingredients and construction of a toy is always important as well, one recent recall involved a “Play With Your Veggies” toy that included a piece of fake asparagus that had an embedded metal wire that could become exposed and potentially lacerate children.
Like so many things, a little forethought and research can lead to an emergency room visit free holiday. Forbes has done some of the work for you with their list of the top ten dangerous toys for 2010. Check it out here and have a fun, and safe, holiday season!