"Before purchasing or giving any gift, particularly one intended for a child, double-check to make sure it does not pose a hazard," Stratton said. "Visit CPSC's Web site to determine if it has been recalled."
While considering product safety when shopping for new gift items, Stratton also urged Americans to examine older toys and products in their possession that can pose hazards. He urged operators of daycare centers and thrift stores to be especially vigilant in removing previously recalled items such as older baby cribs, baby walkers, and high chairs from their premises.
Consumers can get the list of recalled toys and children's products by going to the CPSC Web site, www.cpsc.gov, or by calling toll-free (800) 638-2772.
The following safety tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys:
- Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
- For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
- Look for sturdy construction on plush toys, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.
- Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points, especially for children under age 8.
- Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
- Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide.
- Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and when appropriate, to the child.
- Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become deadly playthings. Plastic wrappings can cause suffocation.