Shopping for toys during the holidays can be exciting and fun, but it also can be frustrating.
There are thousands of toys to choose from, but it's important to choose the right toy for the right age child. Toys that are meant for older children can be dangerous for younger children.
In 2000, 17 children died in toy-related incidents in the United States. Some suffocated, others died from head trauma and some choked. The fatalities were among an estimated 191,000 children who were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms after toy-related incidents and 13 children died.
The most important thing to do is READ THE LABEL. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires toy manufacturers to meet stringent safety standards and to label certain toys that could be a hazard for younger children. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
Labels on toys that state "not recommended for children under three ... contains small parts," are labeled that way because they may pose a choking hazard. Toys should be developmentally appropriate to suit the skills, abilities, and interests of the child.
Safe Toy Tips
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines:
- Choose toys with the child's age, interests, and skill level in mind.
- Look for and heed age recommendations, such as "Not recommended for children under 3."
- For children younger than 3, avoid balls that have a diameter of 1.75 inches or less.
- Avoid toys with sharp edges and points.
- Avoid toys made with thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.
- Note that toys with long cords or strings can become wrapped around a child's neck, causing strangulation.
- If there is more than one child in the house, make sure toys for older children are appropriate for the youngest child.
Holiday Toy Safety Tips
- Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Toys that are too advanced could be a safety hazard for younger children.
- Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. If the toy is appropriate for your child, show him how to use it properly.
- Be careful of holiday gift wrapping, like bags, paper, ribbons, and bows. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child.
- Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
Courtesy American Academy of Pediatrics
Listed below are a variety of articles and web sites we found which can help you in selecting an age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate toy. Happy shopping!
(Note: You'll find these articles at different web sites. Use the "back" button when you're done to return to this page.)
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and K-Mart provide tips to keep kids you buy for safe and make your holiday shopping easier. (Available in Spanish.) To report a product hazard or product-related injury, call 1-800-638-8270.
Copyright 2007 by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
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