Cincinnati Children's Offers Holiday Toy Safety Advice

With the excitement of the holidays, parents and relatives eagerly purchase the hottest toys and latest items for their children. But it's during the hustle and bustle of the season that many fail to buy age appropriate gifts for their children, and they tend to disregard warnings on these toys and gifts to ensure they are safe.

Doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics give the following tips on toy safety this holiday season:

  • Parents are encouraged to read all warning labels carefully before purchasing any item.
  • Consider a child's age, interests, and skill levels when purchasing toys.
  • Look for toys with sturdy construction and avoid items with sharp edges and points.
  • Choking is one of the leading causes of toy-related death. Most of these deaths are attributed to toy balls and latex balloons.
  • Small items also can be risky for young children. For children younger than age three, choose toys that are at least 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long, so they will not lodge in a child's mouth or throat.
  • Be aware of safety hazards, including ingestion and choking, associated with toys that have magnets.
  • When selecting stocking stuffers and other trinkets, beware of toy jewelry that may contain lead or cadmium. Both substances can be harmful to children who put items containing these chemicals into their mouths.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (younger than age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids' toys away from young children.
  • Be extra cautious about toys that are handed down from friends and relatives that may not have warning labels. Inspect these toys carefully and use your best judgment.
  • Once the gifts are opened, it's important to quickly discard plastic wrapping.
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