As your kids begin to compile holiday wish lists, you're most likely working on one of your own: a safe toys list.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 254,200 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms in 2015. While no one chooses a gift with the intent to hard, some toys can cause serious injuries.
Below Stacy McConkey, pediatrician, with AdventHealth, offers guidelines to help keep your holidays safe.
- When shopping, choose toys according to a child's age. There's a reason why manufacturers label toys for specific ages. Parents need to read all instructions that come with a particular toy and explain to the child how to use it properly.
- Avoid small toys or toy parts with strings, cords or long straps. Children under 3 can choke with these items, so supervision is essential. If older kids have toys with many parts make sure they store them out of the reach of younger siblings.
- Teach kids to put toys away after playtime. Safe storage prevents falls and other injuries.
- Regular toy maintenance helps prevent future injuries. Check old and new toys for damage such as sharp edges or small parts. Make repairs immediately or discard them.
- Be aware of product recalls. Check http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls the website contains descriptions of recalled products, safety tips, and complaints.
Still not sure what to buy? The following guidelines are helpful for different age groups:
- Infants up to One Year Explore with their hands, mouths and eyes, and enjoy toys they can touch or squeeze: crib gyms, floor activity centers, soft dolls or stuffed animals, squeaky toys and activity quilts.
- 1 to 3 Years Climb, jump, walk, throw and play rough and tumble games: soft blocks, large balls, push and pull toys, pounding and shaping toys and books.
- 3 to 5 Years Like to experiment with imaginary situations and have toys that are close companions: non-toxic art supplies, pretend toys (e.g., play money, telephones), teddy bears or dolls and outdoor toys such as a tricycle with a helmet.
- 5 to 9 Years Like to be challenged with complex games that teach specific skills and concepts: arts and crafts kits, puppets, jump ropes, miniature dolls and action figures.
- 9 to 14 Years Develop lifelong skills, hobbies and enjoy team sports: handheld electronic games, board games, sports equipment, model kits and musical instruments.