During the holidays, we all want children to have a wonderful season. Most of us purchase toys for younger friends, family members, and some of us even donate toys to our favorite charities. While toys are a big part of this time of year, toys can also mean personal injury. Each year, children are rushed to the hospital choking, or with head injuries, burns, and other injuries sustained from toys. Here are some ways to ensure that children stay safe this season:
1) When buying toys, read labels carefully. Only buy toys that are appropriate for the child recipient’s age, skill level, and interest. Also, carefully read warning labels as well as instructions. Assemble toys correctly and ensure that they are always used correctly.
2) Carefully check toys reviews. Just because a toy is on the market, unfortunately, this does not guarantee safety. Always carefully check toys for small parts if you are giving these toys to small children. Any item smaller than a child’s fist can present a choking hazard. Be especially vigilant about toys given to children who are three years of age or younger. Any small magnets, sharp parts, or detachable pieces can pose a hazard. Read online reviews to find out what other parents are saying about toys and to read professional opinions about toys safety.
3) Avoid buying second-hand toys. These may be damaged or recalled. Consider buying smaller toys if budget is a problem. If you do decide to buy a second-hand toy, go online and check its safety record carefully.
4) Supervise playing children. During the holidays, children often spend time in other homes, as families visit each other. However, at these homes younger children can come into contact with toys intended for older children. Younger children can seriously harm themselves by playing with and older child’s toys. An older child’s toys may have small or removable parts that a younger child can easily choke on. Always carefully supervise playtime.
5) Register all the toys that you purchase for the holidays or that your child receives as gifts. Filling out the attached registration form ensures that you will be contacted in the event that the toys are ever recalled. This provides an extra layer of safety in case a product is later on found to be unsafe.
6) Consider the accessories that come with a toy. Battery-operated toys can be a hazard for younger children, as batteries can pose thermal burn injury hazards. At the very least, make sure that any battery-operated toys are designed in such a way as to make removing a battery very difficult. If you are purchasing a snowboard, scooter, skates, skateboard, riding toys, bike, or other such items, purchase the appropriate safety gear as well as a good helmet. Bicycle helmets can help prevent head injuries by up to 85%, according to some experts.