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Keeping safety in mind when shopping for children's gifts

November 18, 2022 

When shopping for holiday gifts this Black Friday, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and HSHS Medical Group encourage you to prioritize safety over popularity. While it may be exciting and enticing to purchase the latest and greatest toy or gadget, it is important to remember to check the safety and age-range of the toy.

“When giving a child a toy, it is important to recognize the age range for which it is intended,” said Dr. Andrew Poulos, HSHS Medical Group family medicine physician. “The age range of a toy is determined by the developmental stage of a child, as well as safety concerns such as small parts that could present a choking hazard. This is particularly important for younger children who are more likely to put objects in their mouth,” he said. “Older children should also be supervised when playing with toys to avoid injuries such as cuts or broken bones from falls.”

HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and HSHS Medical Group encourage parents and loved ones to follow these tips from healthychildren.org on how to buy safe toys:

  1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. 
  2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than the child’s mouth to prevent choking.
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
  4. Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to child’s hearing.
  5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the seams and edges are secured. It should also be machine washable. 
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily into sharp pieces.
  7. Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
  8. 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.
  9. Electronic toys should be “UL Approved.” This indicates the toy meets industry safety standards. Check the label to be sure. 
  10. 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.  

Keeping safety in mind when shopping for children's gifts