Attention Holiday Shoppers: Toy Safety Tips

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By News Team on December 15, 2021

The holiday season is ramping up! Are you feeling rushed yet?

When shopping for gifts for the little ones in our lives, no matter how busy we are, it’s important to take the time to keep safety information in mind.

“Toys and games are fun for kids of all ages, but you want to make sure everyone stays safe,” said Kathryn Bass, M.D., a Carilion Children’s pediatric surgeon with expertise in pediatric trauma.

Read on for a series of tips from Dr. Bass that will keep your kids safe during the holiday season and throughout the year.

a dozen or so button batteries scattered on a white background
These small batteries power many electronic toys as well as flameless candles, remote controls and key fobs. Be sure to keep them away from children, as they can cause considerable injury and even death when swallowed.

1. Find the perfect toy for the right age.

“Many games may seem age-appropriate, but they may contain small parts that could be potential choking hazards,” Dr. Bass explained. “It’s worth taking a moment 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 2,500 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 Dr. Bass. "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,” she said. “This includes helmets for bikes, skateboards, scooters or motorized riding toys.”

colorful lego bricks scattered across a hardwood floor
If you've ever stepped on one of these, you know "toy safety" isn't just kid stuff! Putting toys away is much less painful, and a good habit for growing children.

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, or trips and falls over loose toys.

4. Sign up to receive product recalls.
“It’s important to keep up with the latest recalls,” said Jill Lucas-Drakeford, coordinator of Carilion Children's Safe Kids Southwest Virginia program. “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.” Safe Kids' monthly newsletter includes product recalls.

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