Toy Safety Awareness Month has officially kicked off, and the Toy Association is presenting a number of safety tips for holiday shopping and safe play at home throughout November in honor of the month.
“Play is our business – and keeping kids safe while they play is the number one priority for The Toy Association and our members all year long,” said Joan Lawrence, the Toy Association’s “toy safety mom” and senior vice president of standards and regulatory affairs. “With the holidays around the corner, toys are top-of-mind for many families, which makes it the perfect opportunity to remind consumers about how to choose safe and appropriate toys and ensure a child’s safety once the gifts are unwrapped.”
From the importance of avoiding recalled and counterfeit products, to advice for keeping kids safe when playing with Internet-connected toys, families and retailers are being advised by the association of some simple steps they can take to ensure children’s safety. Some important safety notes to be aware of this month and always as a retailer and/or parent include the following:
A third of parents are unaware that counterfeit toys have the potential to be unsafe, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Toy Association. Whereas toys sold by legitimate companies and retailers adhere to more than 100 tough safety standards and tests that are required by federal law, illicit sellers of counterfeit goods are unlikely to adhere to safety standards, and their knockoff toys could pose a serious risk to kids. Visit the Toy Association’s Play Safe website to learn more about how to spot counterfeits.
Toy recalls are a rare but important part of the process for making sure toys are safe. Recalls are a sign that the safety system works – they are the “safety net” used to remove any faulty products from stores and people’s homes. Before accepting a hand-me-down toy or buying a product second-hand or from a third-party seller, be sure to check whether the toy has previously been recalled. Recall information on toys from the past four years can be found online at the Toy Association’s Play Safe website.
Internet-connected technologies have the potential to add fun and enriching features to kids’ toys. While toy companies follow guidance within the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, there are steps parents can take to help protect the privacy and safety of their children. Parents and retailers are advised to educate themselves and only bring connected products into the home that they feel comfortable with and that they can safely and confidently manage on behalf of their children.
In addition to those topics, the Toy Association’s Play Safe website provides details about the importance of following a toy’s age-grading and why it is key to keep non-toy items such as high-powered magnets, balloons, and button and coin cell batteries out of children’s reach.
“Toys are among the safest consumer products found in the home and are strictly regulated to ensure battery compartments have locking mechanisms and that high-powered magnets are not found in toy parts that are small enough to be swallowed, among more than 100 additional safety measures,” added Lawrence. “However, kids may come into contact with items that are not meant to be played with, so parents should be knowledgeable about risks and remain vigilant at all times.”
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