The holidays are fast approaching and many people are stressing over shopping for the kids. If you’re one of those people, or even if you’re done shopping, it’s important to keep some safety information in mind when looking for that special gift for the little ones in your life.
“Toys and games are fun for kids of all ages, but you want to make sure everyone stays safe while having a blast,” said Jill Lucas-Drakeford, a Carilion Clinic community health educator and coordinator for Safe Kids Southwest Virginia.
Check out Jill's top toy safety tips:
1. Find the perfect toy for the right age.
“Many games may seem age-appropriate, but may contain small parts that could be potential choking hazards,” explained Drakeford. “It’s worth taking a second to check the box or read the instructions to make sure your child’s age is appropriate for that specific toy or game.”
And don't forget about batteries, especially button batteries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3,000 button batteries are ingested by children each year, resulting in major injuries or even death.
"Don't assume that every battery-powered product that enters your home is safe for use by children," noted Drakeford. "In many products, the battery is easily accessible or can fall out when the toy is dropped."
Make sure that the battery compartments of all electronic items are taped shut and loose batteries are always stored out of children’s reach.
2. Don’t forget a helmet for riding toys.
“It may be winter, but don’t forget to buy helmets if you purchase riding toys for your child,” noted Drakeford. “This includes bikes, skateboards, scooters or motorized riding toys.”
3. Think about toy storage.
Where are you going to put all these toys once the kids have opened them? After play time is over, use a bin or container to store toys for next time. This will help make sure no one steps on something sharp, trips or falls over loose toys.
4. Sign up to receive product recalls.
“It’s important to keep up with the latest recalls,” said Drakeford. “Life can get busy, so sign up for recall information emails, this way you can always know if one of your child’s toys is on a list.”
Have a fun holiday season, but it’s important to also have a safe holiday season. Happy Holidays!