Make Safe Toy Purchases this Holiday Season
“Children ages 4 and younger are at especially high risk,” said
Cynthia Cross Thomas, M.D., pediatrician in the pediatric emergency
department at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. “Choking accounts for
most toy-related deaths and injuries, but children also suffer from
falls, strangulation, burns, drowning and poisoning while playing with
In 2002, at least 13 children ages 14 and younger died from
toy-related injuries; more than half were younger than the age of 4. And
an estimated 212,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms
for toy-related injuries; children younger than 4 accounted for 34
percent of these injuries.
“Even safe toys can become dangerous if they are misused or given to
children who are too young for them,” said Dr. Cross Thomas.
“Appropriate selection and proper use of toys, paired with parental
supervision, can reduce the incidence and severity of injuries.”
Keep the following tips in mind to create safer play environments for children:
- Consider the child’s age, physical and emotional development and interests and abilities when choosing toys.
- Avoid toys with sharp points, rough edges, small parts or those that may present choking or strangulation hazards.
- Read instructions for assembly and use of all toys.
- Check toys every three months for damage.
- Remove and discard packaging before giving toys to children.
- Remind children to put toys away after playtime.
Also, beware when shopping for toys online. Internet toy retailers
are not required to include information about choking hazards or
age-appropriateness in their product descriptions, and online toy
sellers may be foreign manufacturers whose products are not required to
meet U.S. regulations.
With some careful research, you can provide your children with toys
that will safely entertain and educate them. For more information on
keeping kids safe, visit www.baptistonline.org