A few precautions go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of a toy-related injury. These tips are provided buy the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Toy Manufacturers of America:
*Pay attention to labels. Only buy a toy that is appropriate for a child of a certain age. Some toys are hazardous for children younger than the recommended ages. Even when labels are present, use the information only as a guide in considering whether a child has the mental and physical skills to play with a given toy.
*Keep toys with small parts away from children under age three. It may be necessary to keep certain toys away from older children who still put toys in their mouths. Train older children to keep their toys away from younger children.
*Store toys where they will not be stepped on or tripped over. If you store toys in a toy chest, be sure the chest has ventilation holes and smooth edges. The lid of the toy chest should stay open in any position, so that it will not fall on a child's neck and cause strangulation.
The CPSC recommends two firms that produce support devices for toy chests. These are: Carlson Capitol Manufacturing Company, P.O. Box 6565, Rockford, IL 61125, and Counter Balance Support Company, 4788 Colt Road, Rockford, IL 61125. Consumers must include the dimensions and weight of the toy chest lids in their orders.
*Store electrical toys intended for adults and older children on high shelves.
*Examine toys frequently. Look for damage such as rust, loose parts, tears, and broken sharp edges. If the toy cannot be repaired, throw it out. When repainting toys and toy boxes, do not use left over paint unless purchased recently. Older paints may contain more lead that current toy safety standards allow.
*Check often to be sure that eyes, nose, and other small parts on soft toys are tightly secured.
*Make sure arrows or darts used by children have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups, or other protective tips. Examine the tips periodically to be sure that they are securely attached to their shafts.
*Remove crib gyms at once when the infant reaches five months or begins to push up on hands and knees. Keep infants from toys with long cords, ribbons, or strings that may cause strangulation.