Wednesday - Jul 17, 2019

How Substandard Toys Can Affect Your Child’s Brain Development?


The boy biting a toy on a bed at home.

As a parent, you would always want to give the best for your children. You work hard to give them the best education, a comfortable life, and a nurturing environment.  You buy your child clothes, toys, personal care and stuff that you think will make your child happy because it is a rewarding feeling when you know that your child is having the best that life could offer.

Having children is a great joy for parents but the responsibility of raising them is not at all easy.   You should always make sure that the things that you provide for your children are safe and it will not cause any harm.  When you are choosing toys from a retail outlet, did you ever check the labels for the level of the lead content of the toy that you are buying?  Or you just simply buy the toy because your child likes it and your child can’t take off their little hands away from the toy?

Beware of Substandard Toys

When you visit a retail store, you can see hundreds of brightly colored and attractive toys.  No wonder, children are easily attracted to these toys.  Though, there are many trusted toys that are manufactured with remarkable quality and safety, there are also a lot of toys in the market that are considered harmful or unsafe for your children.

These toys are unsafe because they are considered as substandard or rejects from the manufacturers or factories.  It means that it does not pass the quality standard of making a toy. Rejects are not supposedly sold to market since it failed quality control.

Unfortunately,   there are instances wherein these substandard toys are sold in the black market.  Many people are patronizing the product simply because it is cheaper and more affordable than the original product. It could also be possible that the parent who is buying the product is unaware of the possible effect of buying substandard toys.  There are also some instances wherein you can find these toys in a department store simply because the store manager or owner is not aware of the possible danger of selling substandard toys, what they are after is the profit.

There are also cases wherein the manufacturer itself produces low quality products by using inferior materials to reduce the manufacturing costs.  They produce imitations of the original product because they want to generate more profit. Substandard toys are dangerous for your children because it may contain lead and other harmful chemicals that can be toxic particularly if a child accidentally swallowed it.

How Lead can affect your Child’s Brain Development?

When small children play particularly ages 3 and below, it is normal to see them biting or eating their toys.  Children 3 years and up, loves to explore so it is either they are trying to remove the parts of the toys and sometimes playfully put it inside their nose or in the mouth out of ignorance or boredom.   Toys that contain high levels of lead can affect your child’s brain development and may result to lead poisoning particularly if there is a long-term exposure.

Younger children are more susceptible because their developing brain is sensitive to the effects of lead. In the United States, around 310,000 children ages 1 to 5 years old were recorded to have critical level of lead in their blood.  The Center for Disease Control also reported that children ages 1 to 2 year olds and black non-Hispanic children ages 1 to 5 years have toxic range of lead levels in their blood. Lead poisoning can actually cause behavioural problems, headache, stomach pain and anemia.

Lead can act as a poison when it is swallowed, inhaled or in some cases absorbed through the child’s skin.  Acute toxicity happens when a child is expose to higher level of lead for a short period of time while chronic toxicity happens when a child is expose to lower levels of lead for a prolong period of time.  Lead is dangerous because it can get into the child’s system easily.

It can also be distributed in the body similar with other minerals like zinc, calcium and iron.  Lead is harmful when it reaches the body’s system. If it reaches the bloodstream it can cause damage to the healthier red blood cells and as a result, limit its ability to carry and transport oxygen to the tissues and organ that needs it, which later on may results to anemia.

Lead could also affect the bone by disrupting the blood cells production.  It may interfere with calcium absorption which is needed by the bones to stay strong and healthy.  Calcium is needed to maintain normal blood vessel and nerve function, muscle contraction and for a healthier teeth and bones.

How to Protect your Child from Lead Exposure?

One of the best ways to protect your child from lead exposure is to buy toys with CE or Conformite Europeene Seal.  This is a label of safety that will give you an assurance that the toy manufacturers adheres with the quality, safety, environmental and health standards in producing the toys.  Most toys that are distributed globally have already CE seal in their label.

Don’t buy toys with a strong plastic smell, too much bright colour and paints that wear off easily because most probably it is a substandard toy.   Make sure to check whether the toy is age appropriate for your child because some smaller children have a tendency to swallow smaller toys. 

Studies shows that exposure to lead can affect your child’s performance in later years.   There is a risk that they may not perform well in school because the crucial years of brain development was interfered by lead toxicity. Along these lines, it is important for parents to be aware of lead toxicity and its impact so they can protect and secure their children’s health and safety.