Make Safe Toy Purchases this Holiday Season

Mandy Scherer
Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (901) 227-3527
Pager: (901) 227-7243 #3176
Ayoka Pond
Public Relations Manager
Phone: 901-227-3503
Cell: 901-581-5637

“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 toys.”

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


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