There’s no need to go down the rabbit hole Googling tragedies linked to toys labelled as safe for kids. Statistics and news stories abound. Rubber bouncy balls—bigger than a 50p coin (the current safety guideline)—are especial culprits. And the most concerning thing is that they’re marketed for age groups that are still very much at risk of choking.
Bouncy balls have always been a favourite of children, and they’re so accessible, too—check out any toy shop or kids’ vending machine. The danger? A child’s inherent curiosity. And the bite-size size of the ball young ones all too often take literally.
Mum Anna Davis recently had to say goodbye to her son, Alby, whose own curious nature proved fatal. He was just shy of four years old—almost an entire year older than the safety regulation printed on the packaging of the rubber ball that cost him his life.
The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has an important checklist every parent should contemplate when buying or accepting toys:
- Read any warning labels or safety information thoroughly.
- Always check the age-grading on the packaging. And remember this if you’ve younger siblings in the home.
- Always check toys for children under three years old don’t pose a choking risk—also ensure no small parts can come off.
- Check that battery compartments are secure – lithium ‘button’ batteries are extremely dangerous if swallowed.
- Ensure there aren’t any accessible small magnets.
Not on the list, but evidently just as important—even if a toy is marked as age-appropriate, there may still be a chance it could present a choking hazard.
The takeaway from the Davis family’s loss is the old adage, better to be safe than sorry. Anything that has a potential for harm is just not worth it; swop out the toy for something safe.