With Christmas right around the corner, you’re probably in the midst of searching for the perfect gifts for your family. Finding the perfect bicycle and remembering the name of the doll on your child’s wish list is important, but you must also consider safety when choosing gifts. December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month, so here are some toy safety tips to help you this holiday season.
Younger children are at the highest risk
It’s especially important to think about toy safety with small children. Children four years of age and younger account for nearly half of all toy-related injuries and almost all toy-related deaths. Most of these deaths are caused by asphyxiation. Children under the age of three are more likely to choke on toys because they’re more likely to put toys in their mouths.
Be especially mindful of small toys, toys with removable parts, magnets, deflated or broken balloons, or toys that present a choking hazard when looking for gifts for young children. Batteries can also present a risk for young children. When choosing a toy for your child, make sure that batteries can’t accidentally be removed.
Check for toy recalls
There are various reasons why a toy might be recalled. Shock or fire hazard, potential to cause injuries or falls, or the materials used in a product are all common reasons for a recall. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list. This will help you know which toys to avoid.
Read the box
Knowing how to choose a safe toy for your child is easy if you do a little research. Read boxes, packaging, and online reviews for things like age recommendations, potential risk or dangers of a toys, or if adult supervision is required.
Lead in toys and jewelry
Toys currently made in the United States do not contain lead, but some imported toys, or old antique toys may contain lead. There’s no way to detect lead, and it can be present in plastic or metal toys and jewelry. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. Simply touching lead toys and jewelry cause high levels of lead in the blood, but sucking or chewing on toys that contain lead can. A blood test is the only way to check if your child has lead in his or her blood.
How to choose a safe toy
Here are a few things that you can look for when choosing a safe toy:
- Avoid toxic materials and lead paint. Things such as art supplies should be labeled non-toxic.
- Look for BPA free labels.
- Avoid toys with small, removable parts.
- Skip toys that could present a choking hazard.
- Things such as magnets or batteries shouldn’t be accessible by children.
- Look for washable dolls and stuffed animals.
- Old, antique toys are often more dangerous than modern toys.
- Look for flame retardant toys and fabrics.
- Adhere to age recommendations for toys.
Choosing safe toys and gifts is important in protecting your family’s health, but it’s not the only thing that matters. When was the last time your family went in for a wellness visit? Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician today!