30 March 2004, Hindustan Times
Though the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set standards for toy safety related to their mechanical and physical forms, and toxicity, manufacturers are not obliged to adhere to the BIS guidelines unless they export toys.
“We found out that choking was a common hazard among children and numerous incidents were recorded of babies choking on small balls and marbles, or of loose toy parts getting into their noses,” said Soumi Roy of CUTS. Parents also complained of how merchandisers often overlooked the sharp edges of some toys.
NO CHILD’S PLAY
Lots of children choke on small balls and marbles
Use of low-quality materials means children, who usually suck toys, often develop stomach disorders
Toys that shoot objects are specially dangerous
Electric toys can cause burns
Carcinogenic colours are used to give a bright look to toys.
“Even toys that shoot objects are very dangerous,” added Roy.
The research specified how low quality fibres and materials were used to make such toys. This leads to stomach disorders and other related ailments in kids who have a tendency to suck toys. Allergies caused by toys are also quite common among children.
“Carcinogenic colours are used to give a bright look to toys but there is every chance of the paint peeling off and the child swallowing it, causing stomach disorders,” said Roy. “Apart from some reputed manufacturers, others do not use food-grade colouring material for toys meant for kids.”
“Putting things into the mouth is part of a child’s development,” said Dr. Apurva Ghosh, Director, Institute of Child Health. “Hence, ideally, toys should be made larger in size so that children cannot put them into their mouths.”