The holiday season means parents are busier than almost any other time of year. However, it is important not to let our guards down when it comes to purchasing toys that are safe for our children. According to one report, a child goes to the emergency room every 3 minutes for a toy-related injury. (source)
From toy parts that break off, small parts that could cause a child to choke, and even phthalates found in toys, there are plenty of hidden hazards when it comes to kids toys. We all want to buy toys our kids will love.
Growing up I can only remember a couple of toys that I played with. Both were Christmas gifts. One was a stuffed teddy bear my Grandma bought me and the other was My Pretty Pony when I was nine. I'll never forget when the teddy bear eyes fell out, my mom had to put band aids over the holes until the next morning when she sewed on buttons in place of the broken eyes…
What's your favorite toy from your childhood? Hopefully, you didn't have one of these Nightmare toy products from the past!
Here are some tips for safely saving money on toys this season. In addition, find a toy Safety Guide here by ConsumerSafety.
- Bundle Orders! Plan your gift list ahead of time so you can bundle orders to save on shipping.
- Reward Me! Sign up for rewards programs from retailers and credit cards so each purchase pays you back
- Payback time! You often save money by using credit cards over the holidays, but if you don't pay them back, those savings will end up costing you big time. Only use a credit card when you can afford to pay off the balance before the end of the month, or preferably right after you make the purchase.
- Avoid knock-off brands! While they can be much cheaper, they often skirt safety testing and may contain hazardous materials, or break easily.
- Hand-off! When buying second-hand items from eBay or craigslist, steer clear of baby furniture and car seats which may not meet current safety standards, or might have even been recalled. When in doubt check the US Consumer Safety Commission Product Recall list here
- Look for “ASTM F963” This code means that this toy meets the most recent government safety standards. All toys sold in the U.S. must have it.
Other Safety Tips
- Avoid toys with magnets. When two or more magnets are swallowed it can have fatal consequences.
- Avoid toys with small accessories. Sometimes the toy itself is fine, but the accessories can create a choking hazard.
- Avoid toys that expand when wet. Young children often put things in their mouths, when they expand they can cause a choking hazard.
- Accessorize! When buying kids bicycles, skateboards, skates, and scooters always buy helmets, elbow and knee pads to go along with them.
- Be a label reader. Just like with food, you need to read the labels like a detective… where was this toy made? What materials are used to make this toys?
- Buy fewer gifts and opt for natural materials. Having a sea of toys is not always better than a few well made, well-loved items. Look for toys made from natural materials such as cotton, wool, or wood.
- Experiences over items. I asked my children “this year would you prefer an experience or an item?” Trips can be a great holiday gift.
Please pin this post to help spread the word about making safer choices for our children's toys!