We’re a few weeks into the holiday shopping season. That came fast, didn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I still have some shopping left. At the top of my shopping list are gifts for my two small children. They’re 3 years old and 6 months old.
Both as a mom and in my role as program manager for injury prevention at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, I think about safety first when I decide what gets put in the shopping cart.
Like all parents, I want my children to enjoy their toys. I buy toys that are fun and stimulate learning and growth. But, safety rules. Sadly, I’ve seen first-hand what can happen when a child gets a potentially dangerous toy in his grip. It can lead to injury or worse.
While working on this blog post, I learned that 13 kids age 14 and under died from a toy-related incident, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A startling 262,000 were treated for toy-related injuries in emergency departments in 2011. The usual suspects for causing injuries are non-motorized scooters, toy vehicles and toy balls.
If those of you reading this are anything like me, you probably haven’t finished shopping yet, either. I’ve collected some safety tips – with the help of the CPSC –that I hope will help guide what you put in your shopping cart this holiday season:
- Read the label. Buy age-appropriate toys that suit the child’s interest and skill levels.
- Small balls and toys with small parts can cause choking. For kids under 3, avoid these toys.
- If you give or your child gets anything with wheels – like a scooter, bike or in-line skates – make wearing a helmet a rule. A properly fitted helmet should be worn every time and everywhere. For more information on this, visit our Making Safe Simple website.
- Anything containing a magnet can be dangerous and kept away from kids under 14.
- Check that toys are of high quality design and construction.
- Make sure instructions are easy to follow; discard toy packaging immediately so it doesn’t become a hazard.
- Once playing is underway, supervise children accordingly.
Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season.