Toy Safety Tips for the Holidays (and Every Day)
The holidays are here! The toy catalogs have been delivered and the wish lists made. But before you start shopping, ask yourself a few toy safety questions: Is this toy age-appropriate for my child? Are there any choking hazards on this toy? Have there been any recalls issued for the “it” toy of the season?
With these questions in mind, we are sharing the top toy shopping tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Watch this video and read a few toy safety tips below.
CPSC reminds us that:
- High-powered magnet sets that do not meet CPSC’s lifesaving standard are not permitted, especially for young children who may swallow the magnets.
- Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Make sure you discard deflated or popped balloons right away so that children 8 years and under are safe.
- For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.
Kids Health recommends that you buy fabric toys that are flame resistant or flame retardant, stuffed toys that are washable, painted toys that use lead-free paint, and art materials that are non-toxic. Kids Health also reminds us to consider how loud noisy toys really are. The noise of some toys can be as loud as a car horn — even louder if held right up to a child’s ears — and this can contribute to hearing damage. A few more tips from Kids Health, specifically for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, include:
- Toys should be large enough — at least 1¼ inches (3 centimeters) in diameter and 2¼ inches (6 centimeters) in length — so that they can't be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe. If you can't find a choke tube, a toilet paper roll can be used for the same purpose.
- Avoid marbles, coins, balls, and games with balls that are 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) in diameter or less
- Battery-operated toys should have battery cases that secure with screws so that kids cannot pry them open.
- When checking a toy for a baby or toddler, make sure it's unbreakable and strong enough to withstand chewing.
- Most riding toys can be used once a child is able to sit up well while unsupported – but check with the manufacturer's recommendation.
The toy safety tips don’t stop while you are shopping. Once presents have been purchased and opened, make sure you get rid of all wrapping and packaging safely, and be sure to supervise all charging of toys or gadgets. Even if your little one didn’t receive a toy that needs to be charged or use batteries, older children or adults may have gifts that do, so keep an eye on your little ones while batteries or power cords are out. Safe Kids recommends making sure your toy storage containers don’t have holes or hinges where little fingers can get caught. Toys should be periodically checked for splinters, rust, loose screws, or broken pieces.
Check out all this and more at cpsc.gov.
Happy holidays, and happy shopping!