Holiday toy safety

by Capt. Tamara Brown
86th Medical Group pediatric clinic

The holiday season brings with it the joy of toy shopping for our children, family members and friends. It is also a great time to educate ourselves on the importance of purchasing safe toys for our loved ones.

When purchasing toys it is important to choose toys with care and be familiar with potential hazards some toys pose to children.

To ensure our children have a safe as well as enjoyable holiday here are some toy safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

• Select toys according to the age, skill and interest level of the child. A hazard concern exists if toys are too advanced for younger children (also keep them from playing with older kid’s toys).

• Read all instructions carefully before buying or allowing a child to play with a toy.

• Prevent burns and electrical shock: Purchase toys that are battery operated and not needing to be plugged into an electrical outlet, especially for children under 10.

• Choking hazards: Small parts in toys or games pose a choking hazard for young children. It is recommended that children under 3 not receive toys with parts less than 1.25-inches wide and 2.25-inches long.
• Remember to remove all strings and ribbons attached to toys.

• Monitor play with pull toys with strings longer than 12 inches (babies are a risk for strangulation).

• Ingestion hazards: Batteries and magnets can cause serious stomach and intestinal complications (to include death) when swallowed. Batteries of all sizes can be found in toys, musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids and small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call a health care provider immediately if one is swallowed.

• Balloon safety: Do not leave children unattended with balloons. Choking and suffocation hazards exist when playing with uninflated or broken balloons. It is recommended children under 8 should not play with these items.

• Storage suggestions: A specific location such as a shelf or toy chest should be chosen to avoid trips and falls.
For more holiday safety tips, such as tree decorating, food and home protection, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at also provides information on recalled toys.

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