Study Says Toy Safety Needs To Be Improved

Research findings are prompting scientists to urge for ramped up toy safety testing. Tests show that even toddlers can have the bite strength of a family pooch, says Science Daily, a fact that points to potential safety issues regarding toys.

Researchers from the University of Leeds were looking at bite force, toy safety, injury and death prevention, and the behaviors of young children, said Science Daily. Dr. Gary Mountain led the research—the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, Science Daily pointed out. The team concluded that bite-testing standards need to be implemented for toys and that current toy labeling is insufficient in the prevention of toy-related accidents. The team also found, said Science Daily, that poor dental health, weight, and ethnicity all factor into the bite force issue.

“Evidence shows that parents are not reading the warning labels. Or if they do, then sometimes they think that the age labels on toys relate to a child’s developmental capability rather than the fact that the toy may pose a potential risk from having small parts. In addition, there is currently no standard that would safeguard children when biting and/or chewing toys or play products and breaking off pieces which may then be swallowed or inhaled,” said Dr. Mountain, quoted Science Daily.

“The research was based the number of cases of young children admitted to hospital emergency departments after swallowing or inhaling small parts from objects and toys. There is a real need to develop robust bite testing standards for children’s toys but until now we didn’t have the research on which to base them,” Dr. Mountain added. Dr Mountain is a Senior Child Health Lecturer and Deputy Head of the university’s School of Healthcare; he collaborated with peers at the Leeds Dental Institute on the creation of a new, user-friendly instrument that tested the bite force of over 200 children as young as three and up to the age of five, reported Science Daily. The demographic group was selected as it is in those ages that children are most apt to bite and chew objects.

A device is in development to measure bite force and further testing is planned and has received funding, which is timely, considering the number of children’s toys and products that have been recalled for all manner of deficiencies and dangers.

We have long been writing about issues with imported and domestic toys that cause dangers to young children. For instance, toys made with parts that can be removed pose hazardous, deadly choking and strangulation dangers to children. But there are myriad other dangers facing children such as lead poisoning; phthalate and bisphenol A exposure; small parts that can detach and cause choking hazards; clothing with illegal ties that can cause strangulation hazards and have led to a number of deaths; chemicals that can lead to rashes and other skin disorders; dislodged magnets that can be swallowed, causing dangerous and deadly consequences; defective cribs and bassinets that have injured and killed many young children; combustible batteries; and hazardous pool drains, are just some of the perils facing children today.

Most recently, we reported that TGH International Trading (TGH) of Los Angeles, California agreed to pay a $31,500 civil penalty to settle allegations that the company knowingly imported and sold toys that did not meet the requirements of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, said the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Apparently, TGH imported more than 11,000 toys into the United States between March 2005 and June 2006 that contained small parts that presented choking and aspiration hazards to young children.

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