Give the Gift of Toy Safety: 8 Tips from BayCare Kids
‘Tis the season for twinkling lights, festive parties and spreading joy. It’s also the season for gift giving and for most kids that means one thing – new toys! A well-chosen toy can bring a smile of delight onto a little one’s face, but while searching for that perfect gift be sure to keep safety a priority.
“The list of must-have toys may change from year-to-year, but child safety never goes out of style,” said BayCare Kids Wellness and Safety Specialist Michelle Sterling.
While legitimate toymakers have worked hard to make their products safer over the years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that toy-related injuries sent close to 198,000 children to emergency departments in 2020.
According to Sterling, appropriate selection and proper use of toys, combined with parental supervision, can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of toy-related injuries.
When selecting gifts this holiday season, be sure to:
- Choose toys suitable to the child’s age, interest and skill level. “Age labels are for safety reasons and not intended as developmental ratings,” said Sterling. “If a package indicates the toy isn’t suitable for children under 3, it doesn’t mean that your 2-year-old won’t be able to figure out how to play with the toy, but rather that the toy has small parts or sharp pieces that could injure a younger child.”
- Look for durable toys that are made without sharp edges or points.
- For young children, avoid toys with small parts which could pose choking hazards. “If it’s small enough to fit inside the cardboard tube from a paper towel roll, it’s a choking hazard,” Sterling adds.
- Skip toys with small magnetic pieces or button batteries for any child under age 6. Swallowing button batteries or magnets can lead to serious intestinal problems.
- Avoid electrical toys with heating elements (batteries, electrical plugs) for children under the age of 8. These toys are a potential burn hazard.
- Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can wrap around a child’s neck and accidentally strangle him or her.
- If you are buying riding toys, make sure you add a certified helmet to your shopping list to keep their heads safe. And don’t forget the elbow and knee pads as well as wrist guards for skates and skateboards.
- Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous playthings for young children.