Toys are given to children at Christmas in the spirit of fun, but even a well-intentioned gift can carry potential safety risks if it’s not age-appropriate or if its warning labels are ignored. Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics are therefore stepping in to make sure this Christmas is a safe one.
Even Santa can’t argue with these tips:
- Read all warning labels carefully before purchasing any item.
- Consider a child’s age, interests, and skill levels when purchasing toys.
- Once the gifts are opened, quickly discard plastic wrapping.
- Look for toys with sturdy construction and avoid items with sharp edges and points.
- Choking is one of the leading causes of toy-related death. Most of these deaths are attributed to toy balls, latex balloons and small magnets.
- Small items can be risky for young children. For children under age three, choose toys that are at least 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long, so they will not lodge in a child’s mouth or throat.
- Beware of toy jewelry that may contain lead or cadmium. Both substances can be harmful to children who put items containing these chemicals into their mouths.
- To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
- Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
- Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.
- Be extra cautious about toys that are handed down from friends and relatives that may not have warning labels. Inspect these toys carefully and use your best judgment.
- Be careful with button batteries found in toys. If ingested, they can become lodged in the esophagus and cause serious injury and even death.
- High-power magnets can be found in some toys. If a child ingests more than one, the magnets can attract to one another and result in serious injury or even death. Seek medical attention if your child ingests one or more magnets.
Finally, consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission for important information about safety hazards and recall information prior to purchasing toys. And remember – a safe Christmas is a magical Christmas.