Keep Kids Safe from Potential Holiday Toy Dangers


Hazardous toy warning
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With the holiday shopping season here, many people are buying toys for their children or loved ones. Johns Hopkins Medicine experts recommend carefully curating holiday gift lists by taking precautions to ensure 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.

To avoid toy-related injuries, consider these top tips from experts at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center before purchasing gifts:

  • Choose toys that are age appropriate for children. Be sure to follow the toy’s age recommendations, often found on the toy’s box.
  • 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, a tube about the diameter of a child’s windpipe that can be purchased at online retailers, or a toilet paper roll can be used to determine if a toy is too small.
  • Toys should not have sharp edges or points, including hard, thin plastic or metal that may be attached to an item.
  • Cords or strings longer than 7 inches could be potential choking hazards.
  • 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.
  • Avoid buying older painted toys, which could contain lead.
  • Always buy safety gear when purchasing bikes, scooters, skateboards and other riding toys that require balance.

Remember also to watch children, particularly young kids, when playing with toys. If there is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Johns Hopkins experts are available for interviews on toy safety this holiday season:

Ebony Hunter, M.D.
Emergency Medicine Physician, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Joseph Perno, M.D.
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Emergency Medicine Physician, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Leticia Ryan, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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