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December is Safe Toys & Celebrations Month

With the frenzied shopping season underway, now is a great time to talk Safe Toys. This holiday season, we hope your celebrations are full of love and happiness, not panicked, last minute trips to the ER with the little ones.

Before we jump into the important tips for this year’s shopping extravaganza, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the popular children’s toys that were quickly ripped off the shelves in the name of eye safety.

Bird of Paradise Slingshot

It’s no surprise to see a slingshot on this list, but what is interesting is this was one of the earliest toys to be recommended as banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1969. On top of the obvious hazard of having an object at an increased speed possibly launched at a child’s face, the missiles shot by this slingshot were noted as “razor-sharp” by the Wall Street Journal.

Sky Dancers

Released in November of 1994, these flying beauties were recalled for the damage they produced when striking children in the face. Among the injuries reported were temporary blindness, concussions and face lacerations.

Sky Dancer Toy

Splash Off Water Rockets

The Splash Off Water Rocket was only sold in stores for 3 months back in 1997. These toys were filled with water until enough water pressure was built up to send the rocket soaring. Turns out they were quite hazardous when being filled, as the rockets could break under the water’s pressure. The recall reported lacerations on the hands and face.

Splash Rocket Toy

Air Powered Rockets

In 2002, Estes Industries voluntarily recalled approximately 140,000 of these Air Powered Rockets after discovering multiple defects that could harm the consumer. Apparently some of the foam covered rocket tips had broken off, revealing sharp edges that caused lacerations and eye injuries (even some detached retinas) to children when they were struck in the face. The rocket also posed a risk for hand lacerations, as the pump handle was known to break during use.

Air Rocket Toy

Sky Rangers Park Flyer Radio-Controlled Airplane

This remote controlled airplane was sold between 2005 and 2006, but placed on the recall list for exploding. These planes were launched into the air by hand, so the explosions often occurred right next to the consumer’s head, causing injuries to the eyes, face, ears and hands.

Sky Rangers Toy

As much as we’d like to have full faith in the toy making community, mistakes happen and dangerous toys do exist. With that being said, here are a few tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for purchasing safe toys this holiday season:

• Select toys to suit the skills, abilities and interests of the individual child.
• Be a label reader. Look for and heed age recommendations, such as “Not recommended for children under three.” Look for other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/Flame resistant”.
• Make sure that all instructions are clear to you… and when appropriate, to the child.
• Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, before they become deadly playthings.
• Toys with long strings or cords are not recommended for infants and very young children because they can cause strangulation.
• Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old.
• Arrows or darts used by children should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips. Check to be sure tips are secure.

Sources:
www.cpsc.gov, www.io9.com