As the holidays are upon us, thoughts of family gatherings, good food, and gift exchanges come to mind.
Concerning the issue of gifts, specifically toys and toy safety, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund has published their 29th annual survey regarding toy safety. Standards for toy safety are enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Said standards include limits on toxins in children’s products, size requirements for toys for small children, warning labels about choking hazards, measures to keep magnets and batteries inaccessible, and limits on the amount of noise a toy produces.
U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff examined hundreds of toys and found unsafe toys are still on store shelves. Problems found with the various toys include the following:
Toys Containing Lead and Chromium
Childhood exposure to lead can cause developmental issues which could result in damaging academic achievements and attentiveness.
With very few exceptions, federal law requires that all children’s products manufactured after August 2011 contain no more than 100 ppm (parts per million) of total lead content in all accessible parts of the product/toy. Paint or similar surface coatings are subject to a limit of 90 ppm of total lead and chromium is subject to a limit in toy surface coatings and parts, after being dissolved in acid, of 60 ppm.
Toys Containing Phthalates*
Phthalates are a substance which is added to plastics to increase the plastic’s flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.
* Exposure to the above-mentioned substance may harm development in males.
Said parts could block a child’s airway; this could result in being a choking hazard.
Small balls or small rounded toys of less than 1.75 inches in diameter are a choking hazard as well.
These items can be easily inhaled thus causing the child to choke. According to the report, balloons are responsible for more choking deaths among children than any other child toy or product.
When two or more powerful magnets are swallowed, the consequences can be fatal. If the two magnets come together in the intestine, the intestinal wall could perforate.
If swallowed, a chemical reaction can burn through the esophagus and blood vessels causing fatal internal bleeding.
This can lead to a loss of hearing.
To have a safe, enjoyable, and worry-free holiday, pay attention to these safety concerns.
For a more detailed explanation and to know what toys to avoid and how to be smart shoppers, please find the complete report at the following link: http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usf/trouble-toyland-2014.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Scott, CPCU, AIC, AU
National Claim Specialist