There are a lot of dangerous toys out there on the market. With the holiday season moving into full swing, parents are encouraged to take a good look at toys -- before they buy.
When selecting toys to buy for your children (or someone else's children), here are the most important things to keep in mind:
1. Brand names can be important.
Some companies are more reliable than others. Companies like Hasbro and Mattel, which are major players in the toy industry and based in the United States, are conscientious about safety and recalls.
You may not be able to say the same about fly-by-night overseas toy manufacturers. Use common sense about when it's okay to buy a no-name brand toy and when it's safer to stick with a brand you recognize and trust.
2. Age limits need to be acknowledged.
If a toy doesn't have a "recommended age limit," be wary. That generally means that there's very little safety information available about the toy.
If a toy does have a recommended age limit, make sure that you don't buy it for a child who's too young. Age limits are there to prevent little children from swallowing loose parts or getting injured by moving pieces.
3. Consider the potential for danger.
Some gifts look amazing but are actually very dangerous. Every year, the group known as World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH) releases a list of the most dangerous toys on the market just ahead of the holiday season.
In 2018, some of the notables that top the list include the Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster, a Nerf gun, because it can cause serious eye injuries. A popular "Pillow Pet" known as Nella Princess Knight, makes the list because it's too easy for a child to end up swallowing the batteries while sleeping.
As always, the most important thing parents need to remember is that they must shop defensively. There's no foolproof way to prevent badly-designed and dangerous toys from reaching the market.
If your child suffers an injury playing with a toy that was badly designed or defective, make sure that you learn more about your rights and what you need to do to hold the manufacturer accountable in court.