Safety First When Buying Holiday Gifts


Toys are an important part of holiday gift-giving. But, do you know that approximately 217,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine‘s Toy Safety – Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates report.

Safety conscious parents, caregivers, and gift-givers can help prevent toy-related injuries. Knowing what dangers are tied to certain types of toys and certain age groups can help you better protect your child from toy injuries and make for a very happy and safe holiday season.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for that perfect gift for your favorite little one this holiday season.

  • Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide. Label reading will enable you to select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys that are too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children. For example, buttons, batteries, and magnets all pose a serious health risk when swallowed, causing stomach and intestinal problems, and possible death. For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
  • Know the safety standards. When purchasing a toy, look for sturdy construction such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other small parts. For toddlers and babies, avoid toys with metal parts, cords or strings. For all children under age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points. When it comes to electric toys, only choose ones that say “UL Approved,” which means they have passed certain safety standards.
  • Safety at home. Toy safety doesn’t end at selecting the right toy. Once toys are brought home discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings. If you have older children, remember to keep their toys out of reach of your toddler or infant.

Finally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety allows you to receive recall notices on child products, including toys. Follow this link to sign up.