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It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

Here are Some Tips to Ensure this Holiday Season is Fun, Festive and Safe for Your Kids

With nearly 200,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments every year, toys, while a great way for kids to play and learn, can be dangerous if not used properly. December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and with us right in the middle of the holiday season, this is the perfect time to talk a little about toy safety.

In recent years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has created a robust toy safety system by requiring testing by independent, third-party testing laboratories around the world; enforcing stringent lead and phthalates limits for toys; imposing some of the most stringent toy standards in the world; and stopping dangerous toys at the ports and in the marketplace before they reach children’s hands. These combined efforts continue to foster the confidence of American families as they prepare to shop for toys this holiday season.

Here are some other steps you can take to ensure the safety of children in your life.

Shop for Age-Appropriate Gifts

We know it can be tempting to buy something really cool for a child, niece or grandchild, but it’s important to remember that not every toy is meant for every child. Keep in mind the child’s age and development level (most toys offer an age range for guidance). If shopping for infants and children with special needs, look for toys that appeal to the senses (sound, light, movement, texture, etc.) And, finally, remember the rule: If a piece can fit in a toilet paper roll, it is not meant for children under three years of age.

Inspect Toys at the Store Before Purchasing

Look for sharp points, edges and parts that can fly off. Also, check for durability should a child attempt to break, crush or pull toys apart. Furthermore, do not give toys with ropes, cords or heating elements — and make sure crayons and markers are labeled “nontoxic.” Also, when buying toys online, please be sure to read reviews and questions posed by other consumers. They can provide important safety information or things to watch out for when playing with these toys. If you still have questions, contact the manufacturer themselves or review their website. Finally, it is important to never give small toys with removable magnets or button batteries. These can cause serious injury or even death if ingested.

Play Safe. Keep Safe. Put Away Safe

Once toys are opened, immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous playthings. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger siblings. Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

By taking these simple, common sense steps, you can be sure you and your children will have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

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