Toy Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

As Santa completes his list, be sure to keep these toy safety tips in mind, recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.

• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.

• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.

• Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.

• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids and other small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.

• Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age 8 to play with them.

• Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.

• 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.

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