Watch for hidden danger in the holiday toy pile

December 07, 2015 | by Jonathan Gibson, M.D.
This is the season that kids look forward to all year. And who wouldn’t, with a slew of new toys on the way?

Amidst all the excitement and joy of new gifts, it’s crucial to keep your children’s safety in mind.

One gift near the top of every doctor’s wish list is an injury-free holiday season. It’s a gift that is not usually received. A 2014 study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that emergency rooms treated a child for a toy-related injury every three minutes in 2011.

One good resource is the Illinois Attorney General’s annual Holiday Safe Shopping Guide, which points out recalled toys and household items and kids’ products.

Obviously, the holidays are better without a trip to the emergency room. Make this holiday an injury-free one. Keep these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission in mind:

Watch the magnets. Magnetic toys must adhere to a strong safety standard that prevents swallowing. But high-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous for kids. Building and play sets with small magnets should stay out of the reach of small children.

Toss old balloons right away. Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard torn balloons immediately.

Keep small balls and other toys with small parts away from babies and toddlers. For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

Get gear. Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Kids should wear properly-sized helmets and safety gear at all times while riding.

Once the gifts are open:

Be vigilant. Keep toys that are okay for older children away from younger siblings. Watch your kids! Don’t let kids play with new toys alone.

Supervise battery charging. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack a mechanism to prevent overcharging.

Do you have any other tips to share with parents? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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