Children are making their gift lists, adults are scoping out the best deals, and the next few weeks will be filled with toy shopping. While it can be fun to grab the hottest new toy off of store shelves, the fact that something is made for kids doesn't always mean it's safe for kids.
More than 265,000 children have to go to the emergency room each year due to toy-related injuries. We have a few tips on how you can make sure potentially dangerous toys don't make their way into your holiday celebrations.
There are a few basic tips that can go a long way toward helping you choose safe toys for the kids in your life:
1. Make sure that toys are age appropriate. Sure, a 2 year old might enjoy that building set you have picked out, but the small parts it includes aren't safe for a child that young. That's why it's important to pay attention to the age recommendations on product packaging. Quick tip: Anything small enough to fit inside a paper towel tube is a choking hazard for an infant or toddler.
2. Pay attention to product recalls. This is especially important if you buy secondhand toys that aren't currently in stores. Do a quick search to see if the toy you are purchasing has a history of recalls or safety complaints. Many of us check product reviews before we make purchases, so why not take a minute to do a safety check as well?
3. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. The ultra-low price tag on that bargain you just found could be a red flag. Toxic materials and poor construction are just some of the hazards that might be present in deeply discounted items.
4. Register new toys. Many people throw out the registration card that's found in toy packaging. We recommend filling it out and sending it in so you'll be notified in the event of a product recall.
There are a few toys that generally pose safety risks to children. It may be helpful to learn what they are:
Non-Motorized Scooters: Among the most dangerous toys, they are often responsible for a large number of injuries. Children using these scooters should always wear the proper safety gear, including a helmet.
Inflatable Toys: These can cause falling accidents when placed on land and drowning hazards when used in the water.
Trampolines: There are approximately 100,000 injuries every year directly related to trampoline accidents.
Magnets: The small magnets that come with some toys are easily swallowed and extremely dangerous. If they become stuck in the digestive track, they can cause life-threatening damage.
Gift-giving is one of the best parts of the holidays, and making sure the gifts you give are safe only takes a few minutes. Good luck with your holiday shopping, and we wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season.