Holiday Toy Safety – Making Smart Choices While Allowing Children to Still Have Fun

December 14, 2016

The holiday season often brings an abundance of excitement for young children who anticipate receiving new toys and games. The gift givers’ tasks aren’t accomplished by simply finding and buying the wish list items—attention also needs to also be paid on ensuring that gifts are age appropriate and pose no safety hazards.

Did you know?

An estimated 185,500 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency departments for toy-related injuries in 2015, according to the U.S. Consumer Toy Safety (1)Product Safety Commission. Almost half (48%) of those injured were children ages 0-4 yrs. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises were the most common toy-related injuries, with most injuries affecting the head or face.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these tips to help parents and other gift givers make smart choices for children.

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
  • Before buying a toy or allowing children to play with a toy that he or she has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, do not give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death – after swallowing button batteries or magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and other small electronics. Small, powerful magnets are present in many homes as part of building toy sets. Keep button batteries and magnets away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age eight to play with them.
  • Remove tags, strings, and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

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Topics: Best Practices, Parenting, Health & Safety

Julie Looper Coats

Written by Julie Looper Coats

Julie Looper Coats serves as the Senior Advisor for Emergency Preparedness at Child Care Aware® of America. Her professional service includes work as Senior Program Analyst for the Medical Reserve Corps project at the National Association of County and City Health Officials in Washington, D.C., where she supported Public Health Preparedness efforts across the country. Julie also has experience in emergency preparedness and response at the local level, working at the Oklahoma City – County Health Department from 2010-2014, where she managed the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps during several severe weather deployments, as well as provided support during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and other large-scale events. Julie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management.