It’s that season again—time to plan your holiday shopping lists. Everyone wants to see their children’s eyes light up when they open presents. To keep the celebration happy and fun, keep safety in mind when picking out that special gift.
New research shows that every three minutes, a child in the U.S. is treated in an emergency department for an injury related to a toy. The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented by following a few simple guidelines.
The five tips listed below can help you choose a safe toy for your child. Share these tips with everyone who is buying gifts for children this holiday season.
1. Read the label. The packaging has important information about whether the toy will be safe for your child. Check to make sure that the toy is nontoxic and age-appropriate. Stick within the guidelines even if you think your child is smart enough or ready for older children’s toys—the guidelines are there to protect your little one from unexpected harm like small parts that could lead to choking.
2. Buy a helmet. If you will be giving a child a ride-on toy such as a tricycle, foot-powered scooter, or bike, buy a properly-fitted helmet to go with it. Elbow and knee pads are also recommended for scooters and skateboards. To learn how to fit a helmet, click here.
3. Make sure batteries are secure. Small, coin-sized “button” batteries are in many products around the house, even toys. When swallowed, button batteries can cause serious injuries and even lead to death, all within as little as 2 hours. Check your child’s toys and other household electronics for button batteries and make sure battery compartments are secure. Click here to get the facts about batteries.
4. Avoid toys with high-powered magnets. Fake magnetic jewelry, adult desk toys, and other magnetic toys pose a serious risk to children. Not only are high-powered magnets a choking hazard, they can cause severe internal damage when swallowed. If your child swallows more than one magnet, they can attract each other through layers of tissue and damage your child’s internal organs. Learn more about magnets here.
5. Check for recalls. Hundreds of toys have been recalled in recent years. Visit www.recalls.gov to see if you have any of these toys in your home.
This post is courtesy of Prevent Child Injury, a national group of organizations and individuals, including researchers, health professionals, educators, and child advocates, who work together to prevent injuries to children and adolescents in the U.S. In collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevent Child Injury promotes coordinated communication to the public about prevention of child injury, which is the leading cause of death of our nation’s youth. To become a member of Prevent Child Injury or for more information and resources on this and other injury topics, please visit www.preventchildinjury.org.