Shopping for safe toys - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Shopping for safe toys

By Lindsay Cohen email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - No doubt by now, the kids on your shopping list - whether naughty or nice - are making you aware of what they want for their holiday gifts. But how do you know which toys are safe and which ones are age appropriate?

With more than 65 percent of the toys bought in the United States between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas, parents and caregivers are heading into the country's busiest toy-buying season.

But with millions of toys being recalled because of dangerous lead paint and magnets, toy shoppers need to remember that number is a small fraction of the overall number of toys - approximately 3 billion - sold in the United States every year.

"Shoppers need to be even more informed than usual to make sure they buy safe, age-appropriate toys, said Kelly Hamilton, Safe Kids Palm Beach County coordinator. "Even though most toys in the U.S. today are considered to be safe, it doesn't mean we should throw caution to the wind."

Hamilton reminds parents that most toys are safe, especially if you buy from a reputable retailer. "That doesn't mean you have to go to a 'big box' store, but if you shop a locally-owned toy store, make sure that the owner is aware and vigilant about getting recalled items off the shelves. And avoid used toys, which could have been recalled and not removed from circulation."

"If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the toy hasn't been recalled for safety reasons," says Hamilton. "If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away, so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled."

Other precautions to take: Safe Kids Palm Beach County also recommends these precautions: 

  • Make sure to buy age-appropriate toys.
    • All toys are clearly marked if they have small parts
    • Do not buy toys with small parts.
    • Identify dangerous small parts. To be sure of a toy's size, use a small parts tester. 
  • Inspect toys to make sure they are in good repair.
  • Do not let young children play with toys that have straps, cords or strings longer than 7 inches due to the risk of strangulation.
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