Safe Toys

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Teach kids to put toys away after playtime. Safe storage prevents falls and other injuries.
  4. 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.
  5. Be aware of product recalls. Check 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.

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