Toy Safety 4

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                            Toy Safety


                               Top tips when buying toys

Session Plan
Time          Subject       Activity
5 minutes     Introduction Explain to the group that we are going to discuss tips to look for when
                           buying toys to ensure they are safe.
10 minutes    Visual Aids   Use of visual aids to demonstrate unsafe toys and what to look for.
10 minutes    Activity      Ask the group to use the top tips leaflet and to look at the different toys
                            to see if they are safe to use.
5 minutes     Discussion    Question and answer session. Discuss how we can try to keep different
                            age toys separate at home and how we can encourage children to be tidy
                            with toys to avoid accidents. Give each parent a leaflet and a copy of the
                            Be Wise Be Safe DVD to take home.

Resources:                                            about hidden hazards and the dangers if younger
                                                      children play with their older sibling’s toys, the
Photographs/box of dangerous toys and
                                                      dangers of buying cheap toys from the street
truncated cylinder (see Resource section)
                                                      traders or fairgrounds, or using second hand toys.
Variety of toys for different age groups
                                                      Toys are involved in over 40,000 accidents each
Toy safety leaflet                                    year, however most of these accidents occur
Be Wise Be Safe DVD                                   when people trip over toys and when babies play

                                                      with toys intended for older children.

        Session plan
          This is a useful session to carry out a     What is a
         few months before Christmas as many          toy?
       parents will buy cheap toys as stocking        A toy is "any
fillers or as gifts for other children.               product or material
                                                      designed or clearly
                                                      intended for use in
                                                      play by children of
Active play with toys is very important for child     less than 14 years
development. Play not only helps develop a child’s    of age" but does
brain but it enables them to problem solve,           not include such
develop reading and arithmetic skills and to          items as
develop creativity. Suggest to the group that         children's fashion
instead of rewarding their child with sweets, that    jewellery or
they save up the money each week and every so         Christmas
often buy their child a new toy of their choice.      decorations.
According to research in America, children are
not disappointed by toy treats rather than
sweets. It is also good to encourage children from
a young age to get involved with the selection of
their toys.
Toys must meet strict safety criteria and if
purchased from a reputable store will normally be
safe to use. However parents need to be aware
Christmas Decorations                                   • Follow the guidelines on the toy. A message
                                                          such as ‘not suitable for children under 36
Sales of toys are governed by strict regulations to
                                                          months because of small parts’ should be taken
protect young children from choking but this does
                                                          literally. An age guideline, however such as
not apply to Christmas decorations. However
                                                          ‘recommended for children aged 3-4’ is
sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
                                                          discretionary and is designed to help you to
There are a large range of Christmas decorations          decide if the toy will be fun for your child.
that look like toys and are attractive to children      • Is the toy – or any part of the toy – small
as toys. However these can be unsafe.                     enough to swallow? To test the safety of a toy
91 different types were tested by Trading                 use the truncated cylinder. This clear plastic
Standards Officers across the South-West in the           tube, about 3cm across, allows objects to pass
run up to Christmas last year. 58 of them could           through it that are too small to be given to a
have caused an injury to a child left alone to play       child under 3 years of age. These include
with it. Even a Christmas stocking was found on           marbles, small interlocking blocks and game
sale with the wording “unsuitable for children            pieces.
under 36 months”, odd when you consider that
                                                        • What is the toy made of? Does it have any
most stockings are bought for young children.
                                                          sharp edges, spikes, protrusions or splinters.
It is important to check the labels. Many items
                                                          Are there moving parts that could trap or pinch
state “This is a decoration, not a toy”, “keep out of
                                                          little fingers?
the reach of children”, “for use as a decoration
                                                        • How strong is the toy? Pull on the hair, buttons,
only”. Think carefully before buying these
                                                          eyes, tails. Check for well sewn seams.
products or place somewhere out of reach.
                                                        • Are there any strings or cords? These could
                                                          put a child at risk of strangulation.
Activity                                                • Does it look good enough to eat? Imitation
Use a range of different toys and                         foods can be confusing to a small child – if you
empty toy boxes to demonstrate                            think your child will try and eat it don’t buy it!
what to look for.                                         Around Easter time there are toys containing
Use the photographs of the                                real sweets so make sure your child knows the
hazardous toys to demonstrate                             difference. There are also eggs containing small
issues.                                                   toys so extra vigilance is required.
                                                        • Are there any manufacturers marks? The key
What to look for when buying
                                                          marks to look out for are the CE mark and the
                                                          Lion Mark. There may be warnings written next
• Go to a reputable shop. Look for                        to these marks and these should be noted.
  retailers who are members of the                      • Is the toy new or second hand? Never give toys
  Lion Mark Scheme and avoid                              away without checking first that they are in
  buying from street traders and                          good working order and check them over for
  fairgrounds.                                            safety hazards as you would when buying a new
• Look for the mandatory European                         toy. Check all toys that are given to you and if
  Community (CE) symbol. This is a                        in doubt throw them out.
  claim by the manufacturer that                        • Could the toy be flammable? Check what the
  the toy meets the requirements                          material and stuffing is made from. Also advise
  of the EC Toy Safety Directive.                         the parent that some clothes/sports tops can
  Products without the CE mark                            be highly flammable if bought from a street
  may not be intended to be used                          trader or jumble sale.
  as toys but are novelties which may not be safe
  for children to play with.
• Look for the Lion Mark, the British Toy and
  Hobby Association’s symbol of safety and
  quality, which indicates that the toy is
  manufactured to British and European toy
  safety standards.
• Beware of second hand toys – there is no
  guarantee that they are safe.