During the month of December, we recognize National Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. While toy recalls and toy-related deaths have decreased in recent years, toy-related injuries have been increasing. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were 193,200 toy-related injuries that required emergency room visits last year. The main hazards for toys include choking, lead, eye injury and flammability. In order to keep children safe and avoid a hospital visit this holiday season, parents should pay extra attention to how their children play and what toys they play with.
Here are some toys to be especially cautious with:
- Magnets – serious injury or death could occur if swallowed
- Small parts – choking on small parts of toys is a major hazard, especially in children age three and younger
- Riding toys – Skateboards, bicycles, skates and other riding toys can cause falls, and serious injury can occur without proper safety gear such as helmets and pads
- Projectile toys – Air rockets, darts, sling shots and other projectile toys can cause serious eye injury and should only be given to older children
- Chargers and adapters – Chargers and adapters can pose burn hazards to children and the use of these should always be supervised by an adult
In order to keep children safe while playing with toys, it is important to only select toys that are appropriate for their age. Parents should also demonstrate to children how to safely use their toys, and should always keep an eye on children when they play.
Guidelines for selecting appropriate and safe toys:
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box
- Check if the toy is appropriate for your child’s age and ability
- Do not purchase toys with dangerous parts such as sharp edges or rigid points
- Only purchase toys with a sturdy construction so they will not break into dangerous pieces
- Look for toys with the letters “ASTM,” which means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials
- Avoid purchasing toys that shoot or include small parts that can fly off