The holidays are here, and many of us are preparing to shop for toys for
young ones. Some toys may seem harmless, but every year many children
are injured by their favorite toys. The
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 120,000 children are treated in
hospital emergency rooms each year for toy-related injuries.
Nobody wants to spend the holidays in the hospital, especially if their
injuries are 100% preventable. That’s why we’re asking all
Frederick County shoppers to be diligent in inspecting children’s
toys this holiday season. Whether you’re the gift giver or receiving
for your young children, consider these tips to assure your little ones’
gifts are safe this holiday season.
Always buy age-appropriate toys. Check for age guidelines on toy labels and remember that no toys for children
younger than 3 should have small parts that could break off and become
a choking hazard. Toys for children under 8 should not have sharp points
or edges either. For infants, avoid toys with strings or cords that are
7 inches or longer and could cause strangulation. When in doubt, think
large. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s
mouth to prevent choking.
Avoid toys that contain unsafe levels of lead. According to
Consumer Reports, fidget spinners could pose a risk, as they contain certain unsafe lead
levels. Avoid any toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning.
Check for labels that clearly say “nontoxic.”
Look for sturdy construction. Do the parts on that playset seem to be screwed on tight? Could those
loose strings or ribbons pose a threat? If the eye on that teddy bear
is too loose, for example, it could fall off and become a choking hazard
for young ones. Keep this in mind as you’re shopping.
Check instructions for clarity. If they’re too difficult for you to understand or they’re
unclear, they may not be suitable for a child.
Before play, always set ground rules—and supervise young children closely. Make sure children are using toys safely and adequately and encourage
older children to keep dangerous or unsafe toys away from little ones.
Encourage kids to ride safely. According to a
2018 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, riding toys, especially nonmotorized scooters, account for the most injuries
and almost half of toy-related deaths. Keep children using riding toys
like tricycles or push cars away from stairs, swimming pools, streets,
hills, and traffic. Make sure they’re wearing helmets, gloves, knee
pads, and other
safety equipment that fits properly when using bicycles, skateboards, and roller skates, too.
Inspect old and new toys for wear and tear. Make repairs or discard as needed. If you’re giving hand-me-down
toys to children, clean them with soap and water first to remove unwanted
dirt and germs.
Teach children to put toys away after playing. This helps to prevent trips, falls, and accidents. Discard plastic wrappings
and other trash after opening new toys too, as these can become dangerous
Look out for high-powered magnets. Hazardous magnets have a flux index (the measure of the force of attraction
between the magnets) greater than 50 kG2 mm2. If two or more are accidentally swallowed and come together, they can
be extremely dangerous and cause lifelong injuries or even death.
Keep an eye out for toy recalls. In 2018, CPSC issued 18 toy recalls. These ranged from defects that caused
choking hazards to issues involving lead. Before crossing that gift off
your young one’s wish list,
check the agency’s list of recalls for clearance.
Be extra careful when buying crib toys. Strings, wires, and ribbons could cause strangulation while sleeping.
Crib toys should be removed when your child can push up on their hands
or knees. And remember, keep all toys out of your infant baby’s
sleep area to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
and other sleep-related infant deaths.
Frederick Health wishes you and your family a safe, happy holiday. In the unlikely event
that an injury or accident happens, we’re here for you. Please keep
Urgent Care and
Emergency Services in mind, should you need help. Our emergency department is open 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week. If you’re not sure where to go,
learn more here.