With so many toys to choose from this holiday season, Central Texas parents find themselves wanting to grant their kids’ wishes for the newest, coolest toys. But, before you actually buy anything, double check that the toy you’re considering meets safe shopping guidelines.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 262,000 toy-related emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2011. Thirteen of those resulted in deaths among children younger than 15, most from asphyxiation.
Goddy Corpuz, M.D., Pediatrician, at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Cedar Park suggests parents keep these tips in mind when choosing toys for small children:
– Is the toy age-appropriate? Adhere to the age guidelines on toy packaging.
– Are there small, loose parts that your child can swallow? Use the toilet paper tube test – anything that can pass through the tube is too small to be given to a child under three. Marbles, coins and balls are common culprits.
– Could any part of the toy be bitten off and swallowed? Consider choking hazards.
– Does the toy have a string, ribbon, straps or cord longer than seven inches? For young children, avoid these toys or remove the strings to prevent strangulation.
– Is the toy non-toxic? Make sure the toy has a non-toxic, durable finish.
– Could any part of the toy injure your child’s hands or fingers?
- Does the toy include magnets or button batteries? These can be fatal if swallowed.
– Could the toy be a fire hazard? Electrical toys with batteries or plugs pose a burn hazard and should be avoided for kids under eight.
– If you’re purchasing a ride-on, is it stable? Also, remember safety equipment.
– Does the toy include projectiles that can cause injuries to the eyes?
– Has the product been recalled? Check product recalls online at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
– Riding toys like scooters, skateboards and skates go fast, and falls can be very serious. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.
“Even one toy-related death is too many, especially when this is preventable,” says Dr. Corpuz. “But, if you do your homework before you go shopping, you can be sure your children will enjoy their gifts safely.”
Finally, the best toys are the most universal and generic. Trendy and merchandised toys from movies and TV tend to keep a child’s interest for a few days or weeks, however those which support imaginative play, such as balls, dolls, building blocks, construction kits, and play centers tend to inspire children for years as they adapt with a child’s growth and development.
*This information is intended for general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.