The holidays are here, and you’re on the hunt for memorable gifts for your children. As you shop, be sure toy safety is top of mind.
In 2017, emergency rooms in the United States treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries, 69 percent of which occurred to children 12 years old or younger, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Parents can prevent many injuries by letting common sense and safety guide them in their quest for gifts. Most importantly, make sure the toys you select are good fits for your children’s ages and abilities. A toy with many small, detachable parts, for example, is a poor choice for a toddler, who may be tempted to put them in her mouth and run the risk of choking.
Age and stage of development aren’t the only factors to consider when picking out toys. Consider these tips to help you make smart choices in the store and keep play safe at home:
- Read up. Take note of age-recommendation and safety labels on toys when weighing which ones to purchase. When you get home, read the toys’ instruction manuals for important safety and proper-use information.
- Inspect carefully. Be sure toys aren’t damaged, as jagged edges, splinters and loose parts—think a stuffed animal’s eye that’s hanging by a thread—can be dangerous.
- Take care of tags. Cut off tags, strings and ribbons on toys meant for young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. The organization also urges caution and close supervision when allowing young children to play with pull toys that have strings longer than 12 inches, which can become tangled around a child’s neck.
- Give them the gear they need to ride safely. In 2017, nonmotorized scooters caused more injuries to children 12 and younger than any other toy, according to the CPSC. If you’re giving scooters, skateboards or bicycles, be sure to include a properly fitting, CPSC-certified helmet.
- Beware small batteries and magnets. Avoid toys, greeting cards and other items that contain button batteries or magnets, which can cause severe damage to children’s digestive systems if ingested.
- Eschew electric toys. The AAP recommends battery-powered toys for children younger than 10 to avoid the risk of shock from electrical outlets.
- Store smart. Be sure older children keep their toys away from their younger siblings.
Visit stvincent.org/services/pediatrics to learn how Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent and St. Vincent Children’s Health Services can help kids get back to enjoying the season.