Consumer Reports: Keeping toy safety top of mind this holiday season

Posted at 8:12 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 09:12:23-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With just fifteen more shopping days until Christmas, time is running out.

If you're still making your list and checking it twice keep in mind that there were more than 162,000 toy-related injuries that sent kids to the hospital last year. Sadly, 14 children died according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"The majority of problems here are choking on small parts and products that can block the airway of a young child," said Nikki Fleming, with CPSC.

Fleming said to make sure you buy age-appropriate toys that match both your child's interests and abilities.

"You wanna look for the age guidance on the package itself. Also if you’re in a retail store, you’re looking for the age labeling and take heed that warning," Fleming said. "Don’t purchase products that are not age-appropriate for the child that you are intending. We know that children under the age of three are continuing to mouth objects and can get small balls and small parts ingested."

The second leading cause of injuries in kids is riding toys like bikes, scooters, and skateboards. So if you're giving one of these don't forget the safety gear to go with it.

"So you are looking for a helmet that is fit, sized to fit, and also elbow pads, kneepads," she said.

If you're buying your gifts online Fleming says to make sure you buy from a trusted source and be on the lookout for counterfeit products, as well as, prices that are too good to be true.

For a lot of folks, money is tight this year especially and they are looking to save a buck. They might be tempted to go for a product that’s cheaper and perhaps counterfeit. But Fleming said there's a potential danger when doing this.

"It may not have been tested to meet the quality that it should have. So on impact, for instance, a bicycle helmet is supposed to absorb some of the impact to protect your head. You’re not sure that these products have actually been tested to the mandatory requirements," she said.

If you're buying a used item, Fleming suggests that you first make sure that it hasn't been recalled. The CPSC has a list of recalled toys on its website.

But keep in mind, there are some things that really should be new.

"The bicycle helmet is a product you want to buy new. You don’t want to have that hand me down because you don’t know the history of that product," said Fleming. "You don’t know if it’s already been in a bicycle accident and may not have the same impact safety seal for your head to protect you."

It can be tempting to buy cheaper, but you really do want to take toy safety seriously, especially the choking dangers.

You may have heard about the toilet paper test to determine whether toys are too small for a young child. The way it works is you take an empty roll and if the toy fits through the roll easily, it's too small because a child could choke on it.

However, it turns out, this is actually a lot bigger than the CPSC recommends. The federal requirement is only one and a quarter-inch. But, in a pinch, the toilet paper test still will work.