With just a few days to go before Christmas, everyone is on the rush to buy gifts especially for the children. One of the “must buys” for the young kids are toys–from pocket size to remote-controlled ones–which they enjoy to play with.
However, not all toys are safe for children, as reminded by Ecowaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog.
Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect said in a press conference held in Quezon city on the first day of December, “Ang Ecowaste Coalition ay naglunsad muli ng Safe Play Campaign upang bigyang kaalaman ang consumer sa tamang pagpili at pagbili ng laruan at higit ang karapatan ng bata sa ligtas na mga laruan. Layunin ng kampanya na ipalaganap ang toy safety information upang makatulong sa mga consumer sa wastong pagpili at pagbili sa mga laruan na kid-safe.”
“Kid-safe ang isang laruan kung ito ay hindi banta sa kalusugan at kaligtasan ng mga bata lalo na sa kanilang mga yumayabong na utak at katawan. Kid safe toys at zero harm o walang peligro, zero waste o walang aksaya at wala ring basura. Hangad ng Ecowaste Coalition na maipalaganap ang impormasyon tungkol sa ibat ibang peligro sa laruan na kailangang bantayan, magsagawa ng pagsusuri sa mga laruan, magmatyag sa pamilihan, at makipagugnayan sa gobyerno at pribadong sektor para sa kaukulang aksyon,” Dizon added.
According to the group, consumers need to look out for the following: Burn hazards or those toys that can overheat, can cause burns or fire; Chemical hazards or those toys with dangerous chemicals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, phthalates, mong others that can be inhaled by the child; Choking hazards or toys with small parts that can be ingested and cause blockage in airways; Laceration hazard or those toys that can cause wounds and cuts; Strangulation hazard or toys that can strangulate or or entwine a child’s body part; Eye injury hazard or toys with poijted tips that can cause injuries or even blindness.
Ecowaste Coalition recently conducted a “test buy” of 100 assorted toys from informal and informal retailers in cities including Caloocan, Makati, Manila, Pasay, and Quezon, and have discovered that out of 100 toys which costs from Php 10 to Php 220 each, 93 pose a choking hazard for containing small parts.
Moreover, out of these 100 toys, 20 were found to contain toxic lead from 103 to 15, 300 parts per million (ppm), which is far from the 90 ppm regulaory limit; 20 were discovered to have sharp edges; and 18 were observed to possibly cause eye injuries.
Having discovered such, the group together with consumer advocate Laban Konsyumer Inc., calls for the immediate issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of RA 10620 or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.
Laban Konsyumer Inc. President and former Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry said, “Ang IRR po hopefully siguro dapat bago magpasko ay mapirmahan na at mapublish.“
Section 2 of RA 10620 states the requirement for special labeling of toys and games; and Section 10 states the penalies for violators which include a fine of not less than Php 10,000 but not more than Php 50,000 or imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.
Tips in buying toys
Meanwhile, here are the tips to consider in buying toys for children according to Ecowaste Coalition:
1. Read the product label very carefully. Pay attention to the warnings; age recommendation; safety instructions; and look for the product manufacturing details and the license to operate (LTO) number, which is issued to authorize a toy manufacturer, importer, or distributor.
2 Select toys that are appropriate for the child’s age, aptitude, skill and temperament, and follow the age recommendation.
3. Look for toys that are bigger than a child’s mouth to avoid choking (the smaller the child, the bigger the toy). Avoid toys that can easily break into small parts or with small, unsecured components that may be ingested or placed in the nose or ears.
4. Buy toys from reliable traders and obtain a valid proof of purchase to facilitate replacement, refund, compensation, or warranty claim if needed.
5. Watch out for toxic toys or (don’t) play (with) things laden with health-damaging chemicals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and phthalates.
6. Avoid toys with paint coatings–unless certified as lead-safe–to prevent kids from being poisoned when they bite, chew, lick, or swallow toys with lead coatings.
7. Avoid PVC toys that contain many hidden toxic additivrs such as heavy metals and phthalates.
8. Avoid art toys and cosmetics that are not confirmed as non-toxic.
9. Avoid toys that shoot small or pointed objects into air, which can cause eye or body injuries.
10. Avoid toys that have sharp edges or points that may bruise or cut a child’s sensitive skin.
11. Avoid toys with cords or strings longer than 12 inches that may wrap around a child’s neck.
12. Avoid musical toys, rattles, and squeeze objects that make too much loud noise or shrills, which can damage a child’s sensitive hearing.
13. Avoid stuffed toys with small parts such as buttons or eyes that may be pulled loose and swallowed by a child. Avoid those with pellet-like stuffing that may get into a child’s hand and mouth when the toy breaks open; watch out for broken parts, seams and edges. Opt for washable stuffed toys.
14. Avoid battery-operated toys that are not firmly secured as batteries and their chemical ingredients may cause internal bleeding, chemical burns, and choking when ingested.
15. Avoid toys that tend to induce aggression and violence such toy guns, knives, and other toy weapons.
16.Remove and keep the toy plastic packaging out of children’s reach to avoid risk of suffocation. Refrain from throwing reusable toy boxes and wrappers to the bin; find other functional uses for toy packaging to reduce waste.
17. Follow carefully the procedures for toy assembly and use and keep the instructions for reference.
18. Teach a child how to play safely, and closely supervise small children to help prevent any untoward incident.
19. Check toys regularly for signs of wear or broken pieces that may cause injury, and keep toys clean.
20. Teach a child to put toys awayafter playing to avoid accidents.