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Intertek

Intertek Takes an Expert Look at Choosing Toys for Your Toddlers

2010-02-22 11:54
  • English

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--There are millions of toys available online and hitting store shelves each year. How is a parent to choose? Toys are intended to be fun and are an important part of any child’s development. However, each year, scores of children are treated for toy-related injuries, creating a heightened awareness for toy safety by manufacturers, governments and consumers all over the world.

Manufacturers follow certain guidelines and label most new toys for specific age groups. When choosing toys, these guidelines not only provide notice of the cognitive and physical ability needed to properly use the toy, but present a guard against noted safety hazards. Any toy sold in the U.S., whether sourced domestically or abroad, is required to follow standards outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for elements such as chemical safety, small parts safety, flammability, and more. A complete guide to age grading on toys along with up-to-date recall information can be seen on the CPSC website – a parents’ friend when dealing with the sometimes confusing realm of choosing safe toys for your child’s level of development.

For ages 3 and under, the most prevalent hazard is choking as children are particularly prone to putting objects in their mouths. Common behaviours for children in this age group also include: rotating, inserting (into body), banging, dropping, and throwing objects as they strengthen sensorimotor skills. According to early childhood experts, development is most rapid between birth and 2 years of age, when body proportions and the ability to control motor functions change drastically.

Modelled after developmental psychology, anatomy, and early childhood literature primarily from the research of Jean Piaget, predicting foreseeable use has become an essential element in effectively identifying product hazards. Although most parents would like to believe their child is advanced in comparison to peers, it is important to note that age levels for toys are determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity.

Melissa Beran, child safety expert at Intertek, a global provider of quality and safety services to wide range of industries, recommends the below guidelines for parents purchasing toys for infants:

  • Look for soft or plush toys, toys with rounded edges, softer or more flexible materials.
  • Ensure the toy is sturdy or strong and shatterproof. Don’t want the toy breaking into small parts if it is dropped, fallen on, or played with roughly.
  • Ensure no small parts are included with the toy or that could easily detach from toy – children are placing everything into their mouth at this age.
    • Look for toys, puzzles, rattles and teething toys that are too large to be swallowed.
  • Beware of sharp edges – children may mouth the object while walking and fall onto the toy.
  • Confirm toys are non-toxic, BPA and Phthalate free.
  • Check to see if toys are non-flammable.
  • Beware of long strings, cords, or ribbons that a child could wrap around their neck or other body part.
  • Avoid toys with moving parts that could pinch a child, or entrap a body part.
  • Avoid loud toys that could cause hearing damage.
  • Avoid latex balloons in the home – deflated balloons or part of a popped balloon can be choking hazards.
  • Choose toys that are appropriate for your child at his current age, not ones that he or she can ‘grow into’.
  • Frequently check CPSC recall data, which can be found at: www.cpsc.gov.

Intertek experts have conducted decades of research studies and monitored real child interactions with toys in foreseeable use focus groups all over the world. Its development of essential strategies to predict and identify safety hazards in each stage of child development has been quickly adopted by leading toy brands all over the world, aiming to protect both brands and consumers from unnecessary risk.

About Intertek

Intertek (ITRK.L) is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions serving a wide range of industries around the world. From auditing and inspection, to testing, quality assurance and certification, Intertek people are dedicated to adding value to customers' products and processes, supporting their success in the global marketplace. Intertek has the expertise, resources and global reach to support its customers through its network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 24,000 people in over 100 countries around the world.

Contacts

Intertek
Julie Naujokas, Communications Manager
Telephone: +1 630 481 3114
Julie.naujokas@intertek.com