Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Toys, small parts, and batteries....Toy safety tips for parents

By:  Christy Ashburn, Pediatric Resident

The holiday season is fast approaching, and now is a great time to talk about toy safety before the shopping begins!  When buying gifts for children it is important to keep safety in mind; children may not always put age appropriate toys on their wish lists.  Toy-related injuries are a common occurrence, with thousands of children showing up in emergency departments all over the country.  Researchers say that the numbers of toy-related injuries are continuing to rise each year.  In order to prevent toy related injuries it is important to keep several rules in mind when out shopping for gifts for children:

  1. Look at the age specification of the toy.  These specifications come from federal regulations ensuring that the toy diameter is large enough to prevent young children from choking.  If in doubt, think large! 
  2. Buy toys that are made of sturdy plastic and less likely to break. 
  3. Make sure all toys, markers, and crayons say “nontoxic” on the label or box
  4. Be sure that stuffed toys are machine washable and avoid stuffed toys with bean-like pellets that can cause choking if swallowed.
  5. Never leave a young child unattended in the presence of any toy with small parts. 
  6. Use battery operated toys for kids younger than 10 to avoid electric shocks and burns.

 Batteries do pose their own risks however, and are especially dangerous when swallowed.  Button batteries are the most dangerous, as these batteries can resemble candy to small children.  To prevent ingestion, make sure that all battery compartments are sealed appropriately and taped shut to prevent accidental opening.  Store all batteries high and out of reach of children.  If your child swallows a battery, call your pediatrician immediately. 

The holidays are a great time to watch your child grow and develop and learn how to use new toys.  Let’s help them do it the safest way possible!
For more information on toy and battery safety please visit: