KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Many of us are busy filling out our holiday shopping lists. If there are little ones in your life, toys are a big part of that list. But when it comes to children’s safety, popular toys aren’t always safe.
Those toys are intended to bring great joy to the child on your gift list. But as Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a local pediatrician warns you’ve got to be alert to potential serious health risks.
Some toy dangers that can be obvious in young hands as was the case with the character Ralphie in the 1980s movie “A Christmas Story”. Spoiler alert. He shoots himself in the eye. But you really need to use your eyes on some toys to determine the danger.
“So we have to look for age appropriateness in toys,” said Pediatrician Jeffery Kile, MD with PAK Pediatrics in Kingston.
He recommends checking the packaging for the manufacturer’s recommendation but that’s only a starting point.
Dr. Kile says you also need to consider, “Taking a good analysis and looking at the toys and seeing are their small parts on it and asking yourself does this seem appropriate for my child. Are there loose pieces on it, things that can fall off and get into a child’s mouth or even poke them in the eye?”
Young children may also stick a loose piece in their nose or ears. Dr. Kile also reminds parents to consider that different countries have different safety standards.
Make sure you know exactly where the toy was made so that you’re not exposing your child to toxins like lead or cadmium which can often be found on children’s jewelry, toys with batteries and paint coatings.
Dr. Kile said “It might not be a big lead chip that the child is eating, a big paint chip, but slowly sucking on a toy. Children like to mouth things. Over time, they ingest it and your body can’t get rid of it so it builds up in your body.”
While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission takes toys deemed unsafe off store shelves, don’t assume that’s the case with second-hand sellers.
“Especially on places like Ebay you may worry that they won’t know when toys are being recalled,” said Dr. Kile. Because when it comes to unsafe toys, you need to put your foot down.
The Boston-based group World Against Toys Causing Harm or WATCH for short has released its ten worst toys list for 2019. Click here to check out that list for yourself.