It’s that time of year again. “ ’Tis the Season” for news stories about the top toys of the season and which toys are the most dangerous.
As the federal government’s consumer product safety agency, CPSC is not in the business of telling you what to buy. But we ARE all about helping you keep your families safe during the holidays. New CPSC statistics today reveal that while recalls and deaths are down, injuries related to toys have increased. Many of these injuries are associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy.
With that in mind, here are some things to consider in this gift-giving season and beyond:
1. Choose Age-Appropriate Toys: Look at the age recommendation on the toys you are choosing and match that recommendation to your child. Avoid toys with small parts for children younger than 3. Those small parts can cause a child to choke. For children under 6, avoid play sets or building toys with small magnets. A child can swallow those magnets, which can result in a serious injury or even death. Starting at a young age, teach your children not to put toys in their mouths.
2. Gear Up: If sports-related gifts such as ride-on toys, bicycles, skates or scooters are on your gift list or around your house, make sure to include helmets that are sized to your child’s head and other appropriate safety gear. And then, make sure your child wears the gear properly EVERY time he or she uses the toy or sports equipment.
3. Location, Location, Location: Be aware of your young child’s surroundings during play. Make sure you are watching your child around automobiles, swimming pools and ponds. Teach them to be cautious in those places. Even indoors, you need to keep a close eye on your young child around bathtubs, corded window coverings and in the kitchen.
Those dangers don’t end when your child goes to a friend’s house. As your children get older, teach them where and how to skateboard or ride their bikes and scooters safely. Talk with them about not riding a friend’s ATV unless they are trained to ride it or on the dangers of magnets and small suction cup darts.
4. Balloons: Throw away broken balloon pieces at once. And keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8. Those balloons are a choking hazard.
5. Plastic Wrap: Keep a trash bag at your fingertips while your kids are opening their presents. That way, you can immediately throw away plastic wrappings and other toy packaging before they become dangerous play things. As an added bonus, it makes your cleanup faster, too.