November 16, 2018

Children’s Hospital urges caution in toy selection this holiday season

Children are surrounded by toys during the holidays. How to make sure they are safe and age-appropriate.

The holidays are ramping up, and toys are a top topic.

As shoppers search for sales this season, injury prevention advocates want to raise awareness about the need to choose age-appropriate toys for young children.

“Good toys for young children need to match their stages of development and emerging abilities,” said Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program manager at Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “When getting gifts for babies and toddlers, look at the labels, which are meant to be a helpful tool to the buyer.”

Unni said several children are treated in the emergency department each year for toy-related injuries.

Nationally, there was an estimated 251,700 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2017, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with 13 toy-related deaths reported that calendar year.

Unni urges gift-givers to be mindful of the following critical safety tips:

  • Check the label. Follow age guidance and other safety information on packaging. (Age grading is based on safety concerns and on the developmental appropriateness for children.)
  • Avoid toys with small parts, as well as marbles and small balls, for children under age 3.
  • Ensure that stuffed toys have age-appropriate features such as embroidered or secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play.
  • Be careful with magnets. High-powered magnet sets are a safety risk. Children can swallow loose magnets, causing serious intestinal injuries.
  • Get safety gear. With scooters and other riding toys, be sure to include helmets. Helmets should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.
  • Know your seller. Purchase toys from retailers you know and trust.

More safety tips are available on the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt website at: https://www.childrenshospitalvanderbilt.org/information/injury-prevention-safety-tips

Photo: iStock