Choosing Safe Toys For Children

December 20, 2010

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Choosing Safe Holiday ToysEven though shops began advertising Christmas before Halloween this year, it's really time to get ready for the holidays now. I am well aware of the parental desire to buy gifts that will inspire envy across the neighborhood... but I want to make a plea today — for parents to think about safety first when buying toys this year.

There are a number of concerns surrounding toys and children, and there's no time like the holidays to review some of the risks.

First of all, small toy parts present choking hazards to young children. Toddlers are exploring the world and everything looks new and interesting... and worthy of putting in one's mouth. I know, a teeny piece of a building kit may not look appetizing to you, but to a toddler, those brightly-colored tiny bits can be enthralling. In fact, the vast majority of choking injuries occur in 1-3 year olds. These accidents are so common that toy manufacturers now put age guidelines on the boxes. Don't ignore these warnings!

You can tell if the parts are too small to be safe by using an empty roll of toilet paper. If a toy part is small enough to slide through the cardboard roll, then it's too small to be safe for kids under the age of 3.

The next seasonal hazard comes with the button batteries needed today for so many toys and small gadgets. These batteries look like candy, but shinier. If a child gets a button battery stuck in their nose, ear, or throat, the battery may leak its highly alkaline fluid... and very serious injuries may occur. Please keep all of these batteries out of the reach of small children.

My last word is about those screechy toys that kids adore. In my experience, only unmarried relatives with no children ever buy these toys since parents know that these toys will drive everybody nuts within an hour or two. But IF your child does receive such a toy, like a police car with a high-pitched siren or a stuffed animal who sounds like a nervous breakdown when you pull the string, please know that beyond just being downright annoying, these toys can produce permanent hearing loss for your child. If your child receives one of these acoustic offenders, feel free to graciously thank the doting auntie and then immediately hide the toy at the top of a closet never to be heard from again!

Being careful with the toys that you select for your child this year, and the ones that your child receives, will help assure that this will be a very happy holiday season.

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