In early 2006, a four-year-old child based out of Minnesota accidentally swallowed some part of a gift, which resulted in death of the child. It was later known that the part contained high levels of lead, which is chemically very dangerous and known to cause severe damage in human beings. Even a highly regulated market such as the US witnessed an estimated 251,800 toy-related injuries in the year 2014. With a high number of regulations, if markets such as US and UK see an increasing number of toy-related accidents, one can only imagine India’s plight – with no proper toy-safety regulation being adhered to!
In India, the market is flooded with toys; and some of them happen to be sub-standard toys. Such toys pose a threat to the health and safety of children. A few years ago, the international brand Mattel had recalled about 300 toy units from stores in India due to impermissible amounts of lead in the toy paint.
Did you know that some largely unorganized Indian toy manufacturers produce toys that can cause potential damage to children? Did you know there is no product-recall system in India to prevent further damage?
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set certain limits for use of lead in toys. Interestingly, those standards match US and EU standards, but are sadly voluntary, not mandatory. It implies that local toy makers may or may not choose to maintain the standards set by BIS.
What are some of the risks or threats posed by toys?
Millions of toys have already moved into the homes and thousands more occupy the shelves of toy stores every month. Gifting toys to children within and out of the family is a culture followed and that makes it even more important to buy the right toys.
Here are a few safety guidelines to remember when you are buying toys:
Most important of all is supervision. Whether it is providing safe indoor/outdoor environments or keeping regular checks on the condition of toys, elders and parents have an important role to play. Toys are meant for the joy of children and adhering to toy-safety guidelines will only improve their experience.