A toy truck with a small gift in the truck bed.
A toy truck with a small gift in the truck bed.
A toy truck with a small gift in the truck bed.

7 Toy Safety Tips for the Holidays

Featured Experts:

During the holiday season, many people buy toys for their children or young loved ones. It’s important to take precautions to make sure you choose safe toys for kids, particularly for young tots.

An estimated 200,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2020, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the patients were children 4 years old or younger. Leticia Ryan, M.D., M.P.H., director of pediatric emergency medicine for Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and Joseph Perno, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and emergency medicine physician with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, outline seven recommendations for carefully curating gift lists and avoiding toy-related injuries this holiday season.

1. Follow Recommendations

Choose toys that are age appropriate. Be sure to follow the toy’s age recommendations, often found on the toy’s box.

2. Beware of Small Parts

Do not buy toys with small parts for young children. Also, check toys for any loose parts that may fall off. A small-parts tester, which is a tube about the diameter of a child’s windpipe, can be purchased at online retailers, or a toilet paper roll can be used to determine if a toy is too small.

3. Avoid Sharp Edges

Toys should not have sharp edges or points, including hard, thin plastic or metal that may be attached to an item.

4. Avoid Long Cords or Strings

Cords or strings longer than 7 inches could be potential choking hazards.

5. No Magnets or Button Batteries

Toys with magnets or button batteries should not be purchased. If more than one magnet is ingested, the magnets could attach inside a child’s body, causing serious injury. Button batteries can also lead to severe internal burns.

6. Watch for Old Paint

Avoid buying older painted toys, which could contain lead.

7. Include Protective Gear

When purchasing bikes, scooters, skateboards and other riding toys that require balance, always buy safety gear.

Remember to watch children, particularly young kids, when they are playing with toys. If there is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Following these suggestions will help make the holiday happy and safe.

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