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Consider toy safety this holiday season

Published in Child Advocacy Services Author: Stephanie McNaughton & Brittany Spah

Child Life Specialists
CentraCare Health – St. Cloud Hospital

It’s the time of year when many families are making their list and checking it twice to help find the perfect toy for their child. Whether you are braving the malls on Black Friday or going online for bargains on Cyber Monday, it pays to think about the child’s age when selecting toys.

According to SAFE KIDS Worldwide, more than 500 kids are seen daily in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. And often, it’s children 5 years of age and younger who are most at risk.

Here are a couple of additional thoughts to consider when selecting toys for all the good little girls and boys in your life.

  • For toddlers, it doesn’t matter what kind of toy it is — it’s likely to end up in his or her mouth at some point. Thoroughly check all toys to make sure there are no small parts or pieces that could pose a choking hazard.
  • Along those same lines, games with small parts and puzzle pieces for big kids can be dangerous for the little kids. Consider buying a container along with these kinds of toys and encourage older children to put all pieces away when done playing with them. This will help keep pieces from ending up in the wrong hands. (It can help you keep from losing important pieces, too.)
  • If you are buying riding toys, make sure the child has a properly-sized helmet to wear while playing with a new scooter or bike.
  • Periodically review your child’s toys and check to make sure they don’t have sharp edges or broken parts. If it’s a toy that your child has outgrown, consider finding it a new home. And if the toy isn’t being played with because it’s too complex, then put it away and save it for later. After all, kids like finding new toys to play with throughout the year — not just at Christmas.