Once the last of the turkey is devoured and the kitchen is cleaned up from the Thanksgiving feast, children’s minds begin to focus on the holidays and TOYS! Lots of toys, piles of toys. What kid does not envision stacks of toys to the ceiling?  

As parents, we take their Wish Lists, fight the crowds, comb the aisles of Toys R Us and Target and search for the gifts that they scribbled on their list. We do the best that we can to give them a happy holiday.

Unfortunately, not all toys that kids request, are safe. Although, the Consumer Product Safety Commission had done an admirable job in the last decade strengthening the laws concerning hazardous toys and recalling any toy that is deemed “unsafe.”, there are many toys that are imported from abroad and manufactured in Asia, that still test high for toxic hazards, small parts and poor construction.

Some of Holiday 2015's biggest offenders:

HOVERBOARDS – This is the hottest toy of 2015 and a must for every kid from kindergarten through college, but it comes with extreme caution. All hoverboards are not created equal. Segway, Hoverboard 360 and other national known manufacturers are delivering a quality product to retailers, but cheap imitation models that sell for less than $100 are appearing on store shelves and there have been reports in the news that they are spontaneously catching fire. If you are purchasing a Hoverboard for your child, it is wise to only buy from a reputable retailer and avoid online purchasing from unknown sources. (And remember, always wear a helmet when on a motorized vehicle and make sure they are legal where you roll. New York City has just outlawed Hoverboards on the street.

CHEAP “PRINCESS” JEWELRY AND OTHER SMALL IMPORTED ITEMS FROM DOLLAR DISCOUNT STORES – There has been an uptick of small toys and stocking stuffers in deep discount retailers that contain extremely high levels of lead and toxic chemicals including chromium and phthalates. Jump ropes, toy cars, small action figures, etc. If it is a cheap purchase, it is generally cheaply made, which means an abundance of dangerous filler. When it comes to children, your best bet it to shop known and reputable retailers for toys, Toys”R”Us, Walmart, etc.

ANY TOY THAT CAN FIT INSIDE A CHOKING TUBE – It is always astounding that toys still appear on the shelves that have small parts that pose a choking hazard.  Even major toy retailers such as Mattel and Fisher-Price can have products that slip through the cracks. I have posted a link below to the Trouble in Toyland website which lists popular toys that can suffocate. Some have small parts that can easily break off of larger pieces ("Finding Nemo" Figure Set). Others have tiny "dot" batteries that are smaller than a penny and easily removable from their housing.

This is simply a partial list of the hazards that are faced when choosing gifts from the toy aisle each holiday. I have included some informative links and websites below that will  supply you with more information concerning toy safety. Remember, we all want to enjoy a happy holiday spent around the fireplace or playing with our kids NOT in Emergency Rooms, doctor's offices and Urgent Care facilities.

 Have a SAFE and happy holiday!

Links:

2015 Trouble In Toyland Report  From U.S.P.I.R.G: www.uspirg.org/reports

World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H) Toy List:  www.ign.com/articles/2015/11/23/jurassic-world-tmnt-toys-among-2015s-most-dangerous-toys

Consumer Product Safety Commission Toy Link:  http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Toys/