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Holiday shopping tips: Toy safety

Posted on Dec. 16, 2015 ( comments)
Toy safety holidays Christmas

When you envision your little ones excitedly opening up their new toys this Christmas, no one is thinking that toy will cause harm.

Thankfully, there are simple tips to help keep kids safe this holiday season.

Follow age recommendations:

  • “Not for children under 3” means there are choking or other hazards that can be dangerous for younger children.
  • “Not for children under 8” often means the toy has sharp edges or heating elements (for example, electric trains).
  • Teach older children to keep their toys away from younger siblings.

For infants/toddlers:

  • No toys or parts small enough to block their airway (tip: parts should be too big to fit inside a cardboard toilet paper roll)
  • No toys with strings or cords, due to strangulation risk
  • No toys with magnets or button batteries, which are attractive, yet very dangerous when ingested
  • Immediately discard deflated balloons

Other tips:

  • Always read labels and instructions
  • Discard packaging immediately, especially plastic wrap and small pieces
  • Noisy toys? Use outdoors and away from the ears
  • Will a new bike be under the tree? Don’t forget the helmet                                   
  • New scooter? Add in elbow and knees pads, too

As you make room for new toys, now is the perfect time to go through your children’s old playthings. If they are unsafe, discard or recycle them. Safe and well-loved? Keep and enjoy!

Toy safety check:

  • Broken pieces? Sharp edges? Throw the toy away
  • Look for splinters on wooden toys and sand them down
  • Examine outdoor toys for rust or weak spots
  • Have big-kid toys? Make sure they are out of younger siblings’ reach

What about the toy chest? The lid should stay open in any position, and it should have ventilation cut outs, just in case. Extra points if it has features that protect against pinched fingers.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

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Posted in: Kids' Health

About The Author

Erin Summa Erin Summa, MPH
Erin Summa is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety.
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