Toddlers and pre-school children learn by exploring their worlds. Everything is an opportunity for them to discover something new. In particular, young children learn by playing. They spend a great deal of their time around toys and playthings, making it crucial for their safety to provide safer toys.
Our Denver accident law firm has investigated or researched cases in which small parts, unsafe materials, or other hazards caused harm to a child. As parents and caregivers, adults want children to be happy and safe; we do not want the toys they are meant to enjoy and learn from to end up causing them serious injuries.
Here are some tips for choosing safer toys for toddlers and preschoolers:
- Fabrics should be “flame-resistant” or “flame-retardant.” This standard applies not only to children’s clothing and bedding, but also to toys made of or containing fabrics, like stuffed animals and dolls. Flame-resistant materials are less likely to catch fire, reducing the risk of serious burns.
- Stuffed toys should be washable. When a favorite stuffed toy accidentally comes into contact with a harmful substance, a washable toy can be cleaned and returned to the child who loves it. Non-washable toys, on the other hand, typically must be thrown away if soiled by a dangerous substance like paint, oil, or cleaning supplies.
- All paint used on toys should be lead-free. Lead is a heavy metal that can cause serious brain damage and other lifelong injuries. Children are especially at risk for the dangers of lead poisoning because their bodies are small and their brains are still developing. Look for labels stating that paint used in toys is lead-free. If you are painting a child’s toy or play item, use lead-free paint only.
- Art materials should be labeled “non-toxic.” Although lead is a serious concern for children, it is not the only substance that can cause harm. Art materials for children should be clearly labeled “non-toxic”; these items are generally free of harmful chemicals, including lead. Crayons and paints that have been evaluated as safe for children by the American Society for Testing and Materials will carry the marking “ASTM D-4236” on the package.
- Avoid loud toys. Children have more delicate hearing than adults, and their ears can be damaged more easily. Listen to rattles, squeaks, and other sounds made by toys before giving them to your child. Avoid toys that are louder than the average “indoor voice.”
- Toys should be large enough to prevent choking. Toys larger than 2 inches in diameter and 3 inches in length are typically large enough that a child will be unable to choke on them. If you aren’t sure whether a toy is too small to be safe, do not let small children play with it. Fragile toys that may break into parts small enough to be swallowed should also not be given to small children.
- Battery cases should be closed with screws. Batteries can cause harm to toddlers and pre-schoolers, who don’t know that they can cause chemical burns and other injuries. If a toy requires batteries, the case should be secured with screws so children cannot open it.
If a child you care for is injured by a dangerous toy, don’t hesitate to contact the Denver accident law firm of Levine Law to learn more about your legal rights. Call us today to learn more.