In recent years, parents have become increasingly aware of dangerous materials found in common children’s toys, often those made overseas. We now have regulations on what materials are safe and which ones should be avoided in children’s toys and other consumer products.
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is an organic compound found in many plastics. Safety groups have determined that BPA products have detectable hormone properties and are not safe for babies or children. Some recent studies have suggested links between BPA exposure and obesity, neurological difficulties, and other health problems. When it comes to children, there’s just no sense in taking chances. Canada and the European Union have already banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and pacifiers.
Everyone’s heard about the scare over lead paint in toys. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled toys with detectable levels of lead, either in the paint or the plastic make-up of the toys. It’s not just toys from China that contain lead; those antique toys passed down from your parents and grandparents could have lead because they were made before the U.S. banned lead paint in household products. Surprisingly, children’s jewelry appears to be the greatest culprit when it comes to containing lead.
Children are exposed to lead by placing such toys in their mouths, which can lead to health risks. Always be wary of imported toys, and check safety labels on products to be sure of their makeup.
It’s not just miniscule chemicals that can pose a risk to your children, but also tiny pieces that can break off of toys and be swallowed or choked on. Always pay attention to warning labels that identify a choking hazard to children under age 3. And even then, keep an eye on toddlers as they play because many still have a habit of putting toys in their mouths, which isn’t very sanitary.
Never let young children play with balloons unsupervised because they could easily choke on broken balloon pieces. Similarly, dispose of the plastic bags that toys come packaged in, as children could suffocate by putting the bags over their heads.
Other toxic materials
Safety websites such as HealthyToys.org identify toxic materials found in common toys. Be on the lookout for toys with unsafe levels of arsenic, mercury, lead, chromium, and cadmium. While a product that contains such materials may not pose a risk of direct exposure to a normal person, children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies and brains are still developing. It’s always crucial to play it safe with kids.
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