Toy Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping

December 13, 2016

Often, shopping for our little ones at Christmas time brings us as much joy as it does for our children to open the gifts. But before you plunge into toy-buying this holiday season, Providence Health urges you to keep safety top-of-mind and consider the following facts and shopping tips before you spend.

In 2014, researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital released the findings of a study that analyzed more than 20 years’ worth of children’s safety data. They found that between 1990 and 2011, there were more than 3.2 million toy-related injuries, or more than 150,000 per year. Furthermore, they concluded that in 2011, a child was seen in an emergency room for these injuries every three minutes.

“These accidents are devastating for children and their families, especially when they take place during the holidays,” says Steven Tackett, Senior Charge Nurse of Providence Health’s downtown emergency room.  “To prevent these incidents from occurring, we must be mindful of potential hazards and conscientious about selecting age-appropriate toys to help keep children safe and healthy.”

Here are some safety guidelines to keep in mind at the toy store:

Avoid toys with small parts.

For children three years and younger, avoid buying toys that may contain small parts. Toddlers tend to put anything in sight into their mouths, and parts that can fit inside a toilet paper role can cause choking if swallowed. Furthermore, toddlers also are fond of putting objects in their ears and noses – two more good reasons to stay away from anything containing small parts.

Check for sturdiness.

Children of all ages are anything but gentle with their toys. Look for quality design and construction in all toys for all ages. Only buy toys that seem durable and able to withstand impact and/or chewing without breaking or splintering.

Make sure toys aren’t too loud.

Whether it’s a new electronic device for your son or a karaoke machine for your daughter, kids love devices and toys that play music or make noise. However, many of these toys are as loud as car horns and can cause ear damage when children hold them to their ears, listen through earbuds or even play with them at an appropriate distance from the ear.

Remember the helmet.

If you are thinking about buying your child a new scooter, roller skates or bike, make sure you also remember the helmet and other appropriate safety gear. These toys are fun, but they can also go fast and lead to hard falls.

Check for recalls.

In 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled hundreds of thousands of units of toys for various safety reasons. To make sure the toys you are buying are safe, check the latest recalls on the CPSC website.

Read the label.

A great thing about toy shopping now is that almost every toy intended for children 12 years old and under includes the recommended age range. For older children, be wary of labels indicating “supervision required.”

For more information on toy safety and a list of the latest recalls, visit http://www.cpsc.gov. And happy shopping!