It’s a magical time of year and kids everywhere are hoping for exciting new toys as holiday gifts. It’s also a time of year when we should stop and consider toy safety to make sure we’re bringing into our homes only safe toys for our children. As we support Toy and Gift Safety Awareness Month, we’re sharing facts and advice on toy safety. Earlier this week we talked about statistics of toy injuries and today we have toy safety tips to help you avoid becoming part of those statistics.
Whether you’re buying for your own children or other kids on your gift list, keep these toy safety tips in mind as you shop:
- Avoid toys with sharp edges that could poke or pierce a child. This is especially dangerous for eyes.
- Avoid toys that are too loud. If a child holds an extremely loud toy to his ear, it could damage the ear or cause hearing impairment.
- Avoid toys with shooting or flying parts that could hit children.
- Read the packaging of toys to find out its developmentally appropriate age. Toys for older children should not be given to younger children as they may not be capable of properly using the toy.
- Do not give toys with small parts to younger children as they are more likely to put them in their mouths, causing a potential choking hazard.
- Do not allow children to play with toys that feature long cords or ropes, have open wires or are heated.
- Know your child’s abilities. Regardless of the age range, if you know your child cannot manage a toy properly, do not allow him to have it.
- Electronic toys should have a secure battery cover.
- Enforce safety gear including helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads when your children are using riding toys. If giving a riding toy as a gift, include safety gear.
- Inspect all toys for lose parts, sharp edges, splintered wood and other potential hazards before giving them to children. Periodically inspect them to make sure normal wear-and-tear hasn’t caused any safety issues.
- Throw away or mend toys that are broken or dangerous including toys that have rust or stuffed toys with broken seams.
- Teach your children how to use their toys properly and don’t allow use unintended for the toy.
- Avoid older toys that may not follow the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards that were put into practice in 1995.
- Read packaging to be aware of safety warnings
- Also read packaging to make sure the toy has passed the American Society of Testing and Materials standards. Art supplies should be labeled non-toxic.
- Throw away all packaging immediately after opening toys as they can be sharp or suffocation hazards.
- Encourage your kids to put away their toys to ensure younger children don’t get into them and no one trips over them in your home.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with fun, love and toy safety!
Sources: Prevent Blindness, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kid’s Health, Health Tradition and HAP