Careful Choices on Children’s Toy Gifts Critical to Safe, Happy Holidays

It sure is a great feeling to see the delight and joy on a child’s face when they open up a gift and see a brand new toy inside. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe, so shoppers should be diligent when shopping this holiday season, keeping their young  gift recipient’s age in mind.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says last year alone, more than 250,000 children went to the ER with toy-related injuries, many of which could have been avoided. In fact, choking is still the leading cause of child deaths. BBB recommends selecting toys that are age appropriate for the child and ensure the gift meets safety standards by looking for the following:

  • Before making your purchase, check to see if there are there any sharp edges that can scratch or if there are any moving parts that can pinch small fingers.

  • Watch out for small removable parts that may pose a choking hazard such as the nose, eyes, and mouth on stuffed animals. These  should be firmly attached. Magnets can also present a choking danger.

  • Toys that have long strings and cords are dangerous to infants and young children. They may cause strangulation if the cord becomes wrapped around the child’s neck. Avoid hanging toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons in cribs or playpens.

  • Read labels carefully. Make sure fabric products are flame resistant.

  • Always look for Underwriters Laboratory ( UL)  listing when choosing electronic toys. Make sure flying objects have protective tips on them.

  • Store toys properly to avoid tripping. Lids on toy chests should stay raised to avoid suffocation.

After the holidays are over, check the  toys periodically for rust or loose parts as well as general wear and tear on a toy after use. Things like leaking battery acid can cause fatal injuries. Broken pieces can cut or tear clothing if not monitored carefully. Cover speakers with tape on loud toys if a child’s ears are sensitive. If the toy seems loud to you, it is probably too loud for the child and could hurt their hearing. Beware of some children’s jewelry and cosmetics that still contain toxic chemicals and avoid toys made with PVC plastic because they could cause developmental hazards. Instead, choose unpainted wooden or cloth toys.

Make the holidays merry and have fun shopping for the perfect gift. Just be sure the gifts you give are safe for the ones you love. These tips and more are found with a source you can Trust, bbb.org.

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About Howard Ain

Howard Ain has been reporting consumer news on Cincinnati television for the past 38 years. He also writes a newspaper column alerting readers to consumer scams. He now joins BBB|Cincinnati as a correspondent.