It’s summertime, a kid’s favorite time of year. They have all day for fun and outdoor activities. And how many times have we, as parents said, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt?” But, what if the toys, we as well-meaning adults are giving our children are unsafe.
Some of their favorite toys, like the Marshmallow Blaster, Aqua Bomb, Toypedo and the HydraPak all made World Against Toys Causing Harm’s (W.A.T.C.H.) 2009 list of unsafe summertime toys.
W.A.T.C.H. held its annual “Safe Fun in the Sun” conference recently to increase awareness about the every day dangers that our children face in their every day outdoor activities. W.A.T.C.H. is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about life-threatening toys and other children’s products, including children’s furniture, clothing and playground equipment.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has established The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which has set standards for toys including warning labels, safety standards, lead levels and enforcement.
The packaging for certain toys and games intended for use by children is required to contain a label, or cautionary statement, regarding choking hazards. This section of the new law requires that advertising for these products which provide a direct means of purchase or order of the product must contain an appropriate cautionary statement.
At this point, recalls on toys that might be unsafe for our children are voluntary. Consumers have no way of knowing whether or not a product that they purchase at their local toy store or superstore is safe or not.
According to James Swartz of W.A.T.C.H., a nationally known trial lawyer and child safety consumer advocate,
“We can’t assume that just because an item is on the shelf that it is going to be safe, it’s going to protect our children adequately, because, it very well may not.”
In their annual “Safe Fun in the Sun” brochure, W.A.T.C.H. also recommends watching out for these other summertime hazards:
In-line skates, skateboards, scooters, in-line skate shoes (failure to wear safety gear)
Bicycle hazards (90 percent of deaths occur from not wearing a helmet)
Trampolines (injuries include paralysis, neck injuries and broken bones)
Soccer Goals (unanchored goals have tipped and crushed children)
Windows (safety precautions such window guards can prevent injuries and deaths)
Playgrounds (toxic surfaces, poor ground cover, choking hazards from clothing)
Mini-Hammocks (children have been entrapped in children’s models with no spreader bar)
Water Safety: Swimming Pools, Spa and Hot Tubs (drownings are often silent, there is often no screaming to alert an adult)
Summertime accounts for nearly half of injury-related death in children. So, let’s do what we can to make outdoor activities for our children safer. The first step is education, these types of needless deaths can drop significantly if we (parents, friends, neighbors, caretakers and family) learn about the dangers our children face and take the necessary precautions.