‘Tis the season to shop for children’s toys. Make sure the toys you select are safe. Toy-related injuries have increased 40 percent over the past two decades. In fact, every 3 minutes, a child is the U.S. is treated in an emergency department for a toy-related injury.
Follow these six safety tips when shopping for toys:
- Choose age-appropriate toys. Read labels. Most toys have a recommended age sticker, which can serve as a starting point in the selection process. It’s not safe for your kids to play with toys made for older children.
- Avoid toys with small/detachable parts. Don’t give young children toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses or buttons. They are choking hazards. A general rule: Any object that can fit into an empty toilet paper roll is a choking hazard and should be kept out of reach. Avoid toys with sharp points and edges, too.
- Avoid toys that shoot objects. Toy guns and projectile toys can cause dangerous eye injuries. If you are buying toys with projectile parts, make sure your child wears appropriate eye-protection.
- Stay away from toxic toys. Check labels carefully and stay away from any toys that do not declare themselves free of lead, which can damage children’s nervous systems. Also avoid vinyl, a plastic that releases phthalate fumes your child can inhale.
- Purchase protective gear. The toys that are most likely to lead to injuries include scooters and other ride-on toys. If one of these toys is on your list, make sure you purchase protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, and wrist guards.
- Check for recalled toys often. Reasons for the recall of toys vary. Some toys are recalled due to unsafe chemicals and others due to detachable parts or defects in their construction.