As we prepare to celebrate the holidays, it is important to be mindful of toy safety precautions to keep your children happy and safe and reduce the risk of serious injury.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were over 206,400 toy-related injuries treated in hospitals in 2021 alone. We hope that these toy safety precautions will help your family stay safe this holiday season and all year long!
First, it’s important to read toy labeling and safety instructions carefully to make sure the toys are appropriate for your child’s age and skill level.
Once you’ve confirmed that the toys are age-appropriate, these additional tips can help make sure the safest possible presents are under the tree:
- Choose toys with sturdy construction. Avoid toys with sharp edges and points, including hard, thin plastic or metal pieces that may be attached and could cause injury.
- Avoid choking hazards. Choose toys that are at least an inch in diameter and two inches in length (about the size of a toilet paper roll), so they can’t lodge in the child’s throat or mouth.
- Keep older kids’ toys away from younger children. Keep small balls and other toys with small parts away from children under age 3, and keep deflated balloons away from children under age 8.
- Don’t buy toy jewelry that may contain lead or cadmium. Both are poisonous metals that can cause serious harm to children. Watch out for older painted toys, which may also contain lead.
- Avoid toys with cords or strings longer than 7 inches, as they could pose a strangulation risk for babies.
- Children under age 10 should get battery-operated toys, not toys that need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
- Use caution with toys that require button batteries, by ensuring they are not easily accessible. If swallowed, these batteries can become lodged in the esophagus, resulting in serious injury or death.
- Avoid toys with high-powered magnets that are small enough to be swallowed. If swallowed, these tiny magnets can attract each other within the body and cause serious internal injury or even death.
- Include protective gear. Don’t forget a helmet with scooters, bikes, or other riding toys.
- Discard wrappings and plastic packaging immediately after gifts have been opened. These are NOT toys!
Finally, make sure you are up to date on the latest recalls. Every year, dozens of consumer products are recalled because of safety concerns. Check the U.S. CPSC website for the latest information on recalls. You may find these additional resources helpful as you make your list and check it twice:
W.A.T.C.H.’s 2022 “10 Worst Toys” List
Remember, it is always important to supervise children while they are playing with toys. If you suspect that your child has accidentally ingested a foreign object or substance, call the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) at 1-800-222-1222 to speak with one of our experts. If your child has serious symptoms, call 911 immediately.
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