Toys can be a wonderful way for children to expand their imagination and learn about the world around them. Although children’s happiness and development are important, their safety has to be the main priority when considering any toy. This holiday season we may want to give some of the special kids in our lives the same joy we experienced with our toys. With December being National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, we should make sure we know the difference between a safe and unsafe toy before we make that special purchase.

Riding toys, like skateboards and skates, can be a wonderful way for kids to get out of the house and get some exercise. However, they shouldn’t be enjoyed without proper, and well-fitting, safety equipment like helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. Pay attention to warning labels and instructions to make sure the toy is age appropriate for the child. Strings and straps on toys can pose a risk for strangulation and even death, particularly for toddlers. Uninflated balloons pose a choking hazard as well, so if they are part of your celebration, make sure to keep them out of reach of young children. Toys with parts that can fit through a 1.25 inch circle or smaller than 2.25 inches long are particularly unsafe for children under four years of age. After the excitement of tearing open presents make sure to throw out packaging materials, especially plastic wrapping, which can also be a danger for young children.

Let’s keep our children safe this holiday season, and make happy memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are some additional tips on toy safety:

  • Keep toys with small pieces away from young children.
  • Keep toys in good condition. Throw away anything that is broken to prevent injuries.
  • Keep batteries away from young children. They can cause severe damage if swallowed.
  • Make sure toys are put away properly to prevent accidental falls.
  • Choose toys made of non-toxic, lightweight materials for children under one.

Sources: Child & Family Services, Fisher Price, Safe Kids Worldwide, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Child Accident Prevention Trust. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.