Just like Santa makes a list and checks it twice, parents should do the same when shopping for age-appropriate gifts for their tiny tots. Toys are designed for fun and entertainment and are a vital part of a child’s development; however, they can pose hidden dangers if put into the wrong hands. Unsafe toys can result in choking, strangulation, burns, drowning, and poisoning.
In 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported nearly 150,000 toy-related injuries and nine deaths among children under 14. Most of the deaths were associated with younger children choking on small parts of toys. Unfortunately, many of these accidents occur during the holiday season.
By following a few simple guidelines, parents can avoid any unpleasant trips to the emergency room, ensuring their little ones have both a happy and safe holiday.
Making good toy selections for young children (those three years old or younger) can be relatively straightforward. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t purchase toys with rigid edges or points.
- Avoid purchasing toys with small parts because they pose a choking hazard. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a toy part fits inside a paper towel or toilet tissue roll, a child could choke on it. Curious children might also want to see what happens if they stick a small toy part up their noses.
- When purchasing board games, look for ones that don’t include marbles or small balls. These balls can easily become choking hazards. You should also avoid toys with small magnets. If a child swallows a magnet, it could cause internal injuries.
- Always remove and throw away all packaging from toys before allowing small children to play with them. The packaging could become a choking hazard.
- If you surprise a child with a bike, scooter, or any toy with wheels, make sure you purchase a helmet, knee pads, and other safety equipment, too.
- Check to see if the toy makes a loud or frightening noise that could startle a child. If a toy makes a sound that is too loud, it could impact a child’s hearing.
- If you’re purchasing art materials like crayons and markers, make sure the package says they are “nontoxic.”
- Keep toys with strings, straps, and cords longer than 7 inches out of reach of small children as they can pose a strangulation hazard.
- Toys made of fabric should be flame-resistant or flame retardant.
- If you purchase stuffed animals, they should be washable.
- Don’t purchase toys that contain lead. If children are exposed to lead, it could cause permanent problems with their growth, behavior, and learning ability.
Above all else, parents and caregivers should always supervise children playing with their toys.
Take time to read the labels of toys to make sure they are age-appropriate for your children. Toy manufacturers publish these guidelines to help parents make smart toy-buying decisions.
Even if your child is of a certain age, it’s essential to consider their behaviors, abilities, and development before purchasing a particular toy. Not all children mature at the same rate, and some may not be ready for certain toys even if they fall into a particular age category.
Making Toys Safe to Play With
After all the presents have been opened, it’s important to teach children how to care for their toys properly. Here are a few ideas:
- Kids should learn how to put their toys away after play
- Parents and children should go through toys periodically and look for ones that are broken or no longer usable
- Regularly clean toys with antibacterial soap or mild dishwashing detergent. Some toys can even be cleaned in the dishwasher.
If you’re unsure whether or not a toy is safe, there are several resources available to help navigate your shopping decisions, including the CPSC (www.cpsc.gov.) The CPSC often recalls toys, meaning they are no longer available for purchase.
Community First ER is Here For You
Should your child have a toy-related injury, Community First ER is here for you and your little one. Upon arrival to Community First ER, we will quickly assess your child’s condition and help determine the next steps with access to the most sophisticated imaging equipment, including X-rays and CT scans. If your child requires transport to a hospital, our team can make those arrangements via ambulance or helipad services.
No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are accepted. With both adult and pediatric care available, you will experience little to no wait times to receive our personalized, compassionate, and concierge-level services. Our board-certified physicians and registered nurses will treat your child like family, making their health a top priority. We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
About Community First ER
Emergency health care is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at https://communityfirster.com/ and engage with us on social media.
Fast Fact: One child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury.
Tip: You can sign up for a CPSC alerts to receive the latest information on toy recalls.