Legitimate toy makers deserve credit for making their products much safer over the years. However, too often, we still end up buying dangerous toys for children for the holidays.
And, while it’s not fair that gift-buyers need to keep an eye out for counterfeit or recalled items, because of some bad actors, we must.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine whether a gift is safe or not, especially online, when you can’t inspect the item and it may be mislabeled, or missing a warning, such as a recall notice.
The good news is that toys with safety risks are less likely to be found at traditional retail stores. However, when shopping on websites that act as the middleman between the customer and the seller, consumers can encounter hidden hazards.
Whereas the retailers must receive a certificate of compliance from a manufacturer before selling a toy, not every toy sold online may be covered and the toy described in the website listing might not be the toy that arrives at your door.
While the best way to keep a child safe from injury from a toy is to keep an eye on them, look out for any broken toys, and to ensure the toys are age appropriate, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s annual Trouble in Toyland report includes tips to identify potentially unsafe toys sold online and in stores.
You can subscribe to email recall updates from U.S. government safety agencies at www.recalls.gov.
To see if the toy has sparked any privacy concerns, it’s a good idea to search the toy’s name and the manufacturer online, and to look for COPPA approval.
When you’re thinking of how fun a toy can be, it is easy to overlook how dangerous it can be. When it comes to holiday shopping, ignorance is not bliss.
If you find a toy that you believe may be unsafe, please report it at Saferproducts.gov.
Editor's note: Hannah Rhodes is a consumer associate with the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, a statewide organization that conducts research and education on issues in the public interest. Learn more at www.ArizonaPIRGEdFund.org.