Safety Tips for Parents When Buying Sports-Related Toys for ChildrenPublished: Jan 30, 2015 in Defective Products, General
Not all children mature at the same rate. Younger children tend to have very limited gross muscle skills. As a child ages, both gross and fine muscle skills will begin to noticeably improve, according to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. This is why the child’s age is one of the most important factors when buying sports-related toys for children.
A child’s play habits, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, ability to judge distances, behavior and overall temperament should also be taken into consideration when buying these types of toys. Being cautious with your sports-related toy purchases could help you avoid inadvertently causing a child to sustain personal injury as a result of you purchasing a toy above his or her ability to safely use.
Potential Hazards of Sports-Related Children’s Toys
Any toy potentially poses a risk to a child. Injuries caused by sports-related children’s toys can vary dramatically from cuts, scrapes and bruises to broken bones, back and neck injuries, as well as serious head trauma. The potential for injury increases exponentially In cases where a child is not wearing proper safety gear, or is playing with a toy recommended for a higher age group, or when playing without proper adult supervision.
The following are a few of the potential hazards associated with sports-related children’s toys:
- Small, removable parts
- Sharp points or edges
- Loud noises
- Electrically-operated toys
- Toys for inappropriate ages
- Loose cords, cables or strings
- Lead poisoning
A study, recently featured by Tech Times, has revealed that close to 3.3 million children visited U.S. emergency rooms between 1990 and 2011 for toy-related injuries. More than 50 percent of the injuries were sustained by children under the age of five. Injury rates during this 22-year time period rose by an estimated 40 percent. Topping the list for toy-related kids’ injuries were foot-powered scooters and other riding toys like bicycles and skateboards.
Choosing Safe, Sports-Related Toys for Kids
If you have children for whom you are planning to buy sports-related toys, KidsHealth highlights certain actions you can take to increase your chances of choosing safely.
- Verify that the toy you plan to purchase is not on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Recall list of recently recalled products.
- Only buy toys appropriate for the child’s age. Most children’s toys have labels that clearly state the age-specific guidelines.
- Do not buy sports-related toys with exceedingly sharp edges. For example, instead of buying darts with sharp tips, opt for ones with suction cups, foam or softer, magnetic tips.
- When purchasing bicycles, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, skis or snowboards, be sure your gift is accompanied by a helmet and the recommended safety gear (knee pads, elbow pads, etc.)
- Stay away from sports-related toys with noises too loud for little ears. Loud noises can cause hearing damage.
- Seek out non-toxic, lead-free toys wherever possible.
- Only purchase electric toys which are labeled (UL), signifying Underwriters Laboratories’ safety standards have been met.
Once you find the right toy, invest some time or have the child’s parent invest the time in educating the child on its proper use and safety precautions to minimize the potential for serious injury. It is always advised to err on the side of caution than to let a child play with a potentially hazardous sports-related toy.
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