When shopping for holiday gifts, HSHS St. Mary's Hospital encourages you to prioritize safety over popularity. While it may be enticing to purchase the latest and greatest toy or gadget, it is important to check an item’s recommended age range and safety features.
When gifting a toy, it is incredibly important to recognize what age you are buying for. All toys have an age range for a reason, whether that be because it is too complicated for a child in certain stages of development or because it contains tiny pieces that could be choking hazards. This is important for all ages, but even more for younger children who are more likely to put something in their mouth. For older children, it is important they understand the correct way to play with a toy to avoid potential harm or injury.
Follow these tips from healthychildren.org on how to buy safe toys:
- Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for.
- Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than the child’s mouth to prevent choking.
- Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
- Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to child’s hearing.
- Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the seams and edges are secured. It should also be machine washable.
- Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily into sharp pieces.
- Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
- Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure the older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
- Electronic toys should be “UL Approved.” This indicates the toy meets industry safety standards. Check the label to be sure.
- Look out for toys with small batteries or loose magnets. If they get loose, younger children might be tempted to put them in their mouths, noses or ears, which can cause serious injuries.
To learn more about toy safety, visit cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/toys#resources.