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How Toxic Are Children’s Toys?

 

 

Shopping for toys is usually a fun excursion for both parent and the child - the child is squealing with delight in the toy store and parents out of love and affection just want to buy their kids whatever their adorable daughter or son wants!

We don't want to alarm you but parents should have all the information - especially when it comes to their little one's health & safety.

There have been recent news reports which stated some very surprising facts. Unregulated toy manufacturing and distribution has resulted in many products for children which are not safe to use - there are harmful chemicals that can cause long term damage to a child's health! 

Are EVEN toys not safe for kids?

Recent surveys, on a global & national level found that children toys that were tested were found to have a high level of chemicals and toxins.

Even sippy cups, used by every toddler and kid, were not safe! What was very alarming that even products with safety labels such as 'BPA Free' were found to be have harmful chemicals.

Is your child’s health affected by substandard quality of toys?

If the toys are not being manufactured within toy safety guidelines, you are most likely buying toxic toys for your child.

This is how harmful common toxins can found in substandard toys can be to kids: 

    Bisphenol A (BPA) : Commonly found toxin in toys known to disrupt hormonal system in babies. It negatively impacts behavioural and emotional aspects of girls and can lead to early puberty in girls. Health experts have found that BPA can also lead to depression and anxiety in boys.

    Lead (PB): The most harmful talked about toxin in the medical world as it is considered dangerous for most of our body organs, especially the nervous system. Lead is used as a stabilizer in some of the toys which are made of PVC plastic.

    Cadmium (Cd):  Cadmium is a carcinogen and affects children’s bone health and more importantly their brain development if ingested in large amounts. If you are wondering where in your kid’s toys could cadmium be, it could be in the surface painting of the toys, kids jewellery or can also be used in the base.

    Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs): There is a class of BFRs which can disrupt the thyroid functioning, liver and is also considered as a carcinogen. This is by far the most common toxin found in toys.
    So much so is its prominence that even Barbie dolls found in China consisted of this toxin.


    Toxicity In Indian Toys

    A global survey was conducted to detect toxins in plastic toys across the world by very reputable organisations - among participants was a Delhi-based environmental organization named ‘Toxics Link’ and several samples from various Delhi markets had been forwarded.

    The study’s results were alarming as four out of six samples had much higher amounts of OctaBDE and DecaBDE toxins than prescribed safety limits.

    How do you keep toxic toys at bay?

    It is natural for your kids to want attractive, bright & colorful toys.

    However, since toxins in toys are rampant (even from major brands) be very careful about what you're buying especially if your kid is likely to be sucking on it or putting toys in its mouth.

    Imported toys from China have been banned in India in the past because of high-level of toxins so be aware of company and brand reputation while buying.

    These days many local companies in India are manufacturing toys from wood and other sustainable material like rubber, organic cloth etc and they use dyes which are made from vegetables & fruits are safe and non-toxic.

    Kids don't really need a lot of toys and many things around the house can be made into toys. It's wise to buy toys only from very well known brands so as to avoid compromising the child's health in the long run!

     

     

    Gadgets and Kids - How much is too much?

    Gadgets And Kids- How Much Is Too Much?

    How much time did your son/daughter spend on a smartphone yesterday? Do you know what applications they normally use and use and for how much time? Are they easily accessing the internet via their tablet/phone?

    Are your kids talking to strangers online? Does your  your child prefer playing games on gadgets over sleeping, playing outside or other activities?

    If these questions worried you or you’re unsure of the answers, it’s possible that you need to more closely supervise probably your children’s gadget usage. 

    Internet at fingertips, amazing gadgets, educational and entertaining apps created only for children have been a boon for children and parents alike! But experts are warning that overuse of technology is affecting physical and mental health of kids.

    Overuse of technology makes kids vulnerable to 'Technology Addiction'. This is a relatively new concepts and few are aware of how harmful this can be - for kids and adults.

    Parents, be warned - Smartphone Addiction Is A Real Thing!

    Mr. Balhara, a psychiatrist at AIIMS said: "MRI studies and CAT scans for mobile addicts have shown patterns similar to those suffering from heroin and cocaine addiction,".

    Mr. Sameer Malhotra, the head of Mental Health and Behavioral Science at Max Hospitals in Delhi shared the details of a case where a 12-year old kid got so addicted to his smartphone that he preferred soiling his pants than getting away from his gadget to use the restroom. There are many such cases but the awareness regarding smartphone abuse is gradually increasing ever since the Blue Whale Online Game Challenge engulfed the lives of more than 100 Indian children.


    Parents, Look Out For These Worrisome Signals!

    Using technology responsibly is need of the hour - look out for behavioral changes and be alert so you can prevent kids from becoming addicted to technology:

    • Persistent use of smartphones and avoiding social interaction;
    • For kids without smartphones, frequently requesting parents for gadgets and throwing tantrums on denial;
    • Drastic change in sleeping patterns to suggest overuse of phones at night;
    • Refusing to eat without smartphone in their hands;
    • Obsessed with fictional gaming characters; and
    • Abrupt disengagement with once loved hobbies, games, and friends.

    What is the solution here then? The answer is simple - clear boundaries & careful observation!

    Here are some effective pointers on how to prevent smartphone addiction in your kids:

    1. Scheduling! Set limits for screen time -  TV, computers & mobiles!
    2. Keep a check on whether their homework is completed and not incomplete due to game breaks on phone.
    3. Create strict mobile-free zones in your home - dining table, bed, study table etc. where kids cannot use their phones. This will ensure adequate tech-free hours to and prevent addiction.
    4. Monitor your child’s social presence. Almost all SM platforms feature ‘Last Seen’ which allows you to track their presence
    5. Sign-up your kids for hobby classes and urge the teachers to have mobile-free sessions
    6. Avoid being too strict - be vigilant, flexible  but always in exchange for recovery

    So to recap, when it it 'Too Much'??

    When a child prefers a smartphone over meals, meeting friends, hobbies, sleep, studies or even spending time with you (the parent) is when tech use is ‘Too Much’. Be observant, draw clear boundaries and keep your kids safe!

    Parents, is 'dry drowning' something to worry about?

    Parents, is 'dry drowning' something to worry about?

    Summers are here and until the clouds pour down, kids are going to find ways to frolic and play in the water. Afternoons in the swimming pool, recurring demands of visiting beaches and water parks, etc. are popular activities.

    Needless to say, all parents take every possible precaution to keep their children safe when around water. But are there any uncommon risks to you are not aware of?

    ‘Dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ although not common but can be a serious risk to a child’s safety. There is increased awareness on this topic after recent incidents in the US have led to children falling very sick after being in the water.


    So, What Is ‘Dry Drowning’?

    ‘Dry drowning’ is not a medical term. The contradictory terms, ‘dry’ and ‘drowning’ often confuses people. But parents are becoming more aware of it since a kid aged 4 died of in Texas, US because of delayed drowning. There have also been some other instances where the children fell quite sick after they'd been playing in water.

    Basically, while playing or swimming in water, kids can accidentally swallow water through the nose and mouth but seem fine after the incident.

    The amount of water swallowed is not enough to drown a person but it can sometimes cause spasms in the airway - which can close up & stop you from breathing. What makes ‘dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ dangerous is that respiratory issues can arise 24-48 hours after the child has been in water. If these symptoms are not noticed or treated by a medical professional, they can become serious and in rare cases it can be fatal.

    How Do You Recognize Symptoms Of Dry Drowning?

    For starters, just be observant!

    If your child has been around water in the past 24 - 48 hours and starts to exhibit any of the following symptoms, please make sure to see a medical professional:

    • Persistent Cough
    • Sudden Shortness of Breath or rapid breathing
    • Change in behaviour
    • Unusual lethargy or sleepiness
    • Nausea or vomiting

    These are some of the common symptoms of ‘delayed drowning’ which you shouldn’t ignore if your child has been anywhere near water in the previous 24 - 48 hours. Even if it doesn’t seem too serious, get medical attention to be on the safer side anyways and to rule out possibility of health issues. 

    Can You Prevent Dry Drowning?

    Please remember ‘dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ is very uncommon so parents should not be paranoid but it is better to be aware of the risk, however small it is.

    For starters, make sure there is adult supervision whenever your kids are in water even if they know how to swim. Teach children them water safety norms and make them aware of the dangers of being careless around a pool or water body.

    If there has been a lot of rough playing or water splashing around, ask them periodically if they are feeling anything unusual.

    Make sure you don’t allow your children near water if they are under any medication as medicines can make kids drowsy. Ensure kids always have flotation device whenever possible. And lastly, always be observant of your kid’s activities and symptoms.

    Do not panic but vigilance is a small price to pay for your child’s safety.