It’s the holiday season, and that means toy-sharing and gift-giving are in full swing. But before you give that special child a new toy, it’s important to stop and consider: Is this toy safe and age-appropriate? Unfortunately, thousands of children are hurt or even killed each year due to an interaction with an unsafe or developmentally inappropriate toy. December is known as Safe Toys and Gifts Month in order to create a happy, healthy, and safe gift-giving experience for all involved.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind:
Inspect toys before purchasing
Look for sharp points, edges, and parts that can fly off. Also, check for durability should a child attempt to break, crush or pull toys apart. Furthermore, do not give toys with ropes, cords, or heating elements — and make sure crayons and markers are labeled “nontoxic.” Finally, it is important to NEVER give small toys with removable magnets or “button” batteries. These can cause serious injury or even death if ingested.
Make sure the toy is age-appropriate
Not every toy is meant for every child. Keep in mind the child’s age and development level (most toys offer an age range for guidance). If shopping for infants and children with special needs, look for toys that appeal to the senses (sound, light, movement, texture, etc.) And, finally, remember the rule: If the piece can fit in a toilet paper roll, it is not meant for children under 3 years of age.
Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately.
Small balls and other toys with small parts
For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
Scooters and other riding toys
Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.
High-powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
Once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous playthings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!