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Beware of ‘killer’ toys that are cheap and readily available

By Elizabeth Ngigi September 14th, 2023 2 min read

In a distressing turn of events, a minor is scheduled to undergo critical surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital to remove a Vuvuzela toy cap that is reported to be lodged in his lungs.

The incident has shed light on the potential risks associated with cheap toys and the influence of peer pressure among children.

The boy’s family, from Naivasha, told Nation.Africa the Vuvuzela toy, which costs only Sh5, was purchased by the young boy due to peer pressure from his friends. What seemed like an innocent and affordable purchase has now turned into a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

According to doctors, the cap from the Vuvuzela toy ended up lodged in the boy’s lungs, causing significant distress and endangering his health. The incident has brought to the fore the importance of quality control and safety standards when it comes to children’s toys.

To understand the availability and pricing of such toys, Nairobi News checked into various online shops where Vuvuzela toys were available for as little as Sh4. This raises concerns about the quality and safety of these low-cost toys that may not meet the necessary safety standards.

When purchasing toys for children, it’s essential to prioritize their safety and well-being. Buying toys that could potentially harm children is a serious concern, and it’s crucial to take precautions to avoid such situations.

Here are some steps to ensure the toys you buy are safe for children:

Check for age-appropriate labels: Most toys come with age recommendations on the packaging. These guidelines are there for a reason. Ensure that the toy you are buying is suitable for the child’s age, developmental stage, and maturity level.

Look for safety certifications: Seek out toys that have been tested and certified by recognized safety organizations. In the United States, for example, toys should bear the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) label.

Examine for small parts: Small parts, like buttons, beads, or detachable pieces, can pose choking hazards for young children. Ensure that these parts are securely attached and cannot be easily removed.

Avoid toys with sharp edges or points: Toys with sharp edges or points can lead to injuries. Check for any potential hazards in the toy’s design.

Be cautious with art supplies: Art supplies such as markers, paints, and crayons should be labeled as non-toxic and safe for children. Ensure they are used under adult supervision.

Avoid toys with toxic materials: Check the materials used in the toy for toxicity. Be cautious of toys made from materials that may contain harmful chemicals like lead or phthalates.

Read reviews and research: Before making a purchase, read online reviews and research the toy’s safety and any recalls associated with it. Manufacturers may recall products that pose safety risks.

Inspect used or hand-me-down toys: If you’re considering used toys or hand-me-downs, carefully inspect them for wear and tear, loose parts, or damage that could make them unsafe.

Follow assembly instructions: If the toy requires assembly, follow the instructions carefully to ensure it is put together correctly and securely.

Supervise play: Regardless of how safe a toy may be, always supervise young children while they play to prevent accidents and ensure they use the toy appropriately.

Stay informed: Stay updated on toy recalls and safety guidelines issued by relevant authorities or consumer protection agencies.