24 June 2019, Quezon City. A non-profit group promoting children’s access to non-toxic and safe toys has raised the alarm over the sale of cheap replicas of lethal weapons that may cause injuries among children, especially if played without adult supervision.
The EcoWaste Coalition sounded the alarm bell after buying toy weapons with sharp points and edges, including imitation “balisong” (fan knife), hunting knife and Naruto weapons such as “kunai” (dagger), “shuriken” (hand blade ) and “tanto” (sword).
The group bought the weapon toys yesterday, June 23, from toy retailers and wholesalers at M. de Santos and Tabora Sts., Binondo, Manila outside the Divisoria Mall. These are sold for P55 to P120 per pack of 20 or 30 pieces.
These weapon toys are often sold to children for P5 to P10 each by ambulant vendors or toy shops near public elementary schools and in some neighborhood sari-sari stores, the group said
While very affordable, the use of such toys could result to injuries requiring first aid treatment or medical attention and should therefore be kept out of children’s reach, the group pointed out.
“Toys with sharp points and edges are potentially dangerous as these could tear a child’s sensitive skin or cause injury to a child eyes,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Ninja weapon toys inspired by Naruto, a Japanese manga series, are attractive to young children who are fascinated by action heroes. However, some of these toys have pointed parts and sharp edges that can harm an unsuspecting child or his playmates,” he added.
Aside from the accidental cuts, stabbing, and eye injuries, the EcoWaste Coalition is also concerned with the impact of such toys on the development of aggressive and violent behavior among children.
“For example, we find it totally inappropriate for young children to play with ‘balisong,’ which is often used in street altercations and crimes,” Dizon said.
“We strongly suggest to both parents and kids to pick safe toys that do not invite aggression or violence such as toy weapons,” he emphasized.
To keep children safe and to discourage aggressive and violent behaviors, the EcoWaste Coalition advises parents to consider these tips:
- Carefully read product labels and shun toys lacking the required labeling requirements such as age grading, cautionary warnings and usage instructions.
- Select age and developmentally-appropriate toys.
- Shun toys with sharp edges or points, small parts, long strings, small and loosely attached batteries, and toxic components such as lead-containing paint.
- Read the instructional literature and teach your child how to safely play with purchased toys.
- Supervise children under your care when they engage in indoor or outdoor play.
The group also drew attention to the importance of choosing toys and childcare articles that are notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration, which have undergone quality and safety verification procedures.
Next month, the EcoWaste Coalition will conduct test buys of toys being sold outside public elementary schools to check on toy industry compliance to the newly-promulgated Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act.