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Are the contents of your child’s party bag safe?

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Written by Areej Ahsan

Parents are calling for tougher checks on the contents of birthday party bags. But why?

As a parent, I’m sure you take your kids to plenty of birthdays. You must know then that a child’s favourite part (after cake of course) is usually the goodie bag, which when opened unleashes an explosion of excitement and squeals. But recent research has found that parents worry about the content of the bags.

The study

A study was conducted by ChannelMum.com after an Australian toddler Alby Fox Davis choked to death on a bouncy ball. The ball was given out in the party bags at his fourth birthday party. The founder of ChannelMum, Siobhan Freegard said: “Party bags are an exciting and enchanting part of childhood. But we sometimes give our kids items in the bags which we’d never normally let them play with.”

Researchers found party bags are given out at 93% of children’s parties. It also emerged that four in 10 parents start giving out party bags as early as their child’s first birthday. With the offerings most commonly going on until age 10.

Interestingly, this research shows us that a growing number of parents worry about the contents of these bags. A poll of 1,240 parents revealed that one in 20 have seen their own child hurt by a toy, food item or other unsuitable gift in a party bag. They also found that a third know of a child who has been injured by a cheap toy.

These concerns resulted in nine in 10 parents supporting more stringent regulations on the items commonly put into the post-birthday packages.

The worry

Usually, the most common items in bags are sweets and candy. Unfortunately, these cause the most harm to children. The most frequent problem caused by party bags is an allergic reaction to sweets or other food stuff. A third of parents who saw a child hurt said it was because of allergies. Not just food allergies, but also reactions to paint, glitter and temporary tattoos.

Worryingly, 28 per cent of parents admit they forget to check if the bags they give out are safe. While a quarter don’t always make sure bags their child is gifted at other parties are acceptable.

The action

A lot of parents have started pushing companies and websites to double check their offerings regarding party bag fillers and their safety. But the buck doesn’t stop at companies – it carries on to parents as well. It seems that in the rush of preparing for parties, they often forget to check the contents in detail.

Freegard suggests, “When making up the bags, check each type of toy before you add it in. If you wouldn’t be happy with your child playing with it normally, then simply don’t include it. There are lots of great alternatives which are better for the environment and better for your child and their friends.”

We don’t want to spoil anyone’s party but it’s worth your time to be aware of the contents of party bags. Use common sense and take the age of the party-goers into account when choosing items. And always heed the warnings given on the products themselves.

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