Counterfeit toys are big business. Here are tips to prevent purchasing a dangerous fake.
Unfortunately, making a list and checking it twice for safe toy buying is not always easy. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does not test all toys and not all toys in stores or online meet CPSC standards. Trouble in Toyland, the definitive annual survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, identified numerous toys out there that are toxic, create choking or strangulation hazards, are too loud, or present other dangers.
Trouble in Toyland Watchlist:
Knockoff Toys: A counterfeiter can produce a toy much cheaper than a legitimate manufacturer by using faulty materials and not testing for safety. Counterfeiters often market toys with images similar to a brand that consumers already know and trust. Here are tips to spot counterfeit toys before you buy them.
Second-Hand Toys: Some bargain retailers will sell second-hand or overstocked products online without checking on recalls. Before selling or buying second-hand toys, search for recalls at Saferproducts.gov.
Swallowed Magnets: Households with small children should steer clear of toys that have high-powered magnets. Battery compartments for toys with a button or coin battery must be child-proof. If a battery can slip out, the toy is not safe for a child.
Choking Hazards: Small parts that choke children present one of the biggest toy dangers. A toy for children ages 3 to 6 requires a warning label if it includes small pieces. Also, be cautious when buying toys online, as posted age restrictions are often wrong.
Noisy Toys: Long-term exposure to noisy toys can impact a child’s hearing health, even into adulthood. If you’re considering a toy that sounds loud to you, you may not want to buy it. If you already have a too-loud toy at home, you can remove the batteries or put duct tape over the speaker to cut the sound.
Smart Toys: Toys that connect to the internet can pose security risks, like private data collected on a child, hacking through a Bluetooth connection, or exposure to inappropriate content. Before buying a smart toy, please read the fine print on how it interacts with your child. It’s also good to Google the toy’s name and the manufacturer for complaints or concerns. Check out this video on smart toys with tips from Consumer Reports.
Vigilance is Key to Keep Kids Safe
- Every year the organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H) publishes its list of the toys considered most dangerous to children around the globe. Check it out and keep these toys off your shopping list!
- This holiday season, supply chain issues have added to the complexity of toy shopping. Consumers can expect to have more difficulties finding the perfect toy this year, especially from the original manufacturer.
- Good news! There was a notable decrease in toy-related emergency room visits from 2019 to 2020. With many Americans staying at home during the pandemic, the increased supervision could account for this drop in toy-related injuries. The best way to keep a child safe from a dangerous toy is to keep an eye on them, look out for any broken toys, and ensure the toys are age-appropriate.