(StatePoint) In the scramble to get your hands on the toys your children want this holiday season, experts warn that you should prioritize safety by sticking to age-appropriate toys and by avoiding counterfeit alternatives at all costs.
“Illicit sellers of counterfeit toys may dupe parents into thinking they’re buying the real thing, or entice them with lower prices or the promise of getting the ‘hot toy’ of the holiday season,” says Joan Lawrence, The Toy Association’s “Toy Safety Mom” and senior vice president of standards and regulatory affairs. “What’s scary is that these illegitimate sellers are actually peddling fake and unsafe products that oftentimes don’t comply with product safety laws. That’s why we always urge parents to shop from reputable brands and sellers whose toys have been tested for compliance with over 100 different safety standards and tests required by law.”
With the shipping crisis predicted to have widespread impacts on the availability of this holiday season’s most popular toys, counterfeits are likely to be even more enticing. And new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of The Toy Association suggests that consumers are not always as vigilant as they should be, with 65% of parents saying they would purchase knock-off/counterfeit toys if they couldn’t get their hands on the original item and 63% indicating they would buy counterfeits if they were cheaper. Indeed one in 10 parents are not even aware that counterfeit toys can be dangerous for kids to play with.
As you go about looking to snag a hot toy this holiday season, steer clear of counterfeit toys that are not safe or appropriate for your child by following these tips from PlaySafe.org:
1. Shop only from reputable brands and sellers. Their toys have been tested for compliance with over 100 different safety standards and tests required by law.
2. Make sure the brand you’re purchasing from has a professional-looking website. Can’t find a website? That may be a red flag that you are dealing with an illicit seller.
3. If a product’s reviews are negative, or if there aren’t many, it’s a clue the product could be a fake.
4. Poorly photoshopped pictures, typos, or spelling mistakes in the online description or packaging are other clues that the product could be illegitimate, and therefore unsafe.
5. Can’t find a toy on your child’s wish list? Wait for a trusted retailer to restock the product. Buying fake or cheaper alternatives is just not worth the risk.
In addition to avoiding knockoff toys, helping ensure your child’s safety during the gift-giving season also means shopping for toys only appropriate for their age. According to The Toy Association survey, 76% of parents read age recommendations on toy packaging before purchasing. However, 40% admitted they view age labels on toys as suggestions instead of a warning, and 68% would give their child a toy recommended for older children. Be sure to follow age recommendations on toy packaging, which are not mere suggestions but firm recommendations made by safety experts that are based on childhood developmental stages.
For more safe shopping tips, visit www.PlaySafe.org, a premier toy safety resource site.
“With your vigilance, you can keep the merriest time of year happy, healthy and joyful by ensuring your child doesn’t unwrap a potential safety hazard,” says Lawrence.