With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper encourages you to shop for safe, age-appropriate toys for the children on your holiday gift list.
Here are some important toy safety tips to keep in mind, and to share with other toy shoppers in your family:
- Remember, children under age 3 tend to put everything in their mouths. They play with toys by pulling, twisting and prodding each item. Small toys, toys with small parts, or toys with potentially removable small parts, such as stuffed animals with attached eyes, noses, etc., all pose a choking hazard. Don’t buy marbles, balls, or games with balls or other game parts that are less than 2 inches in diameter. Avoid toys with sharp edges or points. Be mindful of projectile toys that have the potential for eye injury. Avoid buying toys intended for older children.
- When buying children’s art materials, such as crayons and paint sets, look for products marked with the designation “ASTM D-4236.” This means the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and, if necessary, labeled with cautionary information.
- If you buy a bicycle for a child of any age, buy a helmet too, and make sure the child wears it. All riding toys – bikes, skateboards, skates, etc. – pose a fall hazard. Appropriately sized helmets and other protective gear, such as elbow and shin pads, should be used.
- Concerning lead-based paint on toys: Avoid buying toys that are not in their original packaging. The original packaging has the information you will need in case of a product recall or concern. Brand name, product or serial number and other identifying information is on the packaging. If a warranty card comes with a toy, be sure to fill it out and send it to the manufacturer. This allows the manufacturer to contact you if the product is recalled. Making note of when and where you bought the toy is also a good idea. Be mindful, too, that children ages 6 and under, especially children under age 3, are at risk from lead-based toys because they put the toys in their mouths. Toys that should be of high concern are ones that might be chipping or peeling. Also, remember that “model toys” sold in hobby shops and art stores, such as build-your-own airplanes, trains, etc., might also be lead-based.