Watch Group Cautions School Kids from Buying Hazardous Playthings

A watch group for children’s health and safety advised
students to be careful in buying playthings as classes in public elementary and
high schools resume tomorrow.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which has been tracking dangerous toys in the market since
2011, issued the advisory as “sari-sari” stores near schools, as well as ambulant
vendors, are expected to sell cheap toys to the delight of playful kids.    

“The sale of cheap playthings outside the gates has become a common sight in
many of our public schools. More often than not, these playthings are not
properly labeled and registered, and provide no safety instructions and precautionary
warnings,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect. 

“Many toys appear harmless to the naked eyes. 
But, unknown to many of us, some toys can pose health and safety risks, especially
for young children,” he said. 

Dizon warned that some toys may cause breathing difficulties or choking because
of their small or unsecured parts that kids may ingest; some toys may injure
the eyes or cause bruises and cuts because of their sharp edges or points; and
some toys may even pose strangulation risk due to their long cords or strings.

“There are also toys that are laced with
health-damaging chemicals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and phthalates that
can harm children’s brains and development,” he added.

“As school-going kids may not be able to exercise their rights as consumers
because of their young age, we urge their parents and teachers to guide them on
how to prevent hazardous playthings,” he stated.

Hazardous playthings are toys that pose choking, laceration, poking,
strangulation and chemical exposure risks, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Safe playthings, on the other hand, are age-appropriate, durable, contain no
small, pointed or sharp parts, with
string not longer than 12 inches, not coated with lead paint, not made of
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, and must be labeled and registered.

To safeguard schoolchildren from falling prey to hazardous playthings, the
EcoWaste Coalition urged “sari-sari” stores and ambulant vendors not to sell unlabeled
and unregistered toys.

The group also urged the national and local health departments, in coordination
with barangay and police authorities, to conduct random inspections of toys, as
well as foods, being sold in the vicinity of the country’s public schools.