Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Advice on Shopping for Safe Toys

Before you hit the stores for Black Friday, make sure you realize which toys can cause injuries to children.

The Maryland Public Interest Research Group released its annual Trouble in Toyland report this week, and reported that dangerous and toxic toys can still be found.

In the past three years, 15 children have died after choking or asphyxiating on a toy or toy part; two died in 2009 alone. A good rule of thumb is to see if parts of the toy can fit through a toilet paper roll. If so, those parts c
an cause a choking hazard, especially for children under age 3.

While companies have made progress with producing safe toys, Sinai Hospital pediatrician Anthony Caterina, M.D., urged parents to physically handle the toy before buying and to peruse the Maryland PIRG list of unsafe toys. Lead and other metals have been severely restricted in toys in the past two years, but Maryland PIRG researchers found some toys containing toxic lead and antimony on store shelves. Lead has negative health effects on almost every organ and system in the human body, and antimony is classified as a human carcinogen.

“In addition to physical characteristics, there can be chemical problems with toys such as lead, cadmium, and phthalates,” Dr. Caterina says. “Tha
nkfully we have groups like Maryland Public Interest Research Group that provides a list, and I encourage parents to look at it before buying toys. We can all agree that the best holiday experience is a safe holiday experience.”

To hear more from Dr. Caterina,
including advice to parents on Internet shopping, click below. video.

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