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.