The Rockland County Department of Health urges you to put safety at the top of your holiday list as you shop for your children’s favorite toys and gifts this holiday season.
Follow these ten tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help you choose safe and appropriate toys:
1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your 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 your child’s hearing.
5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily.
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 your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
9. Electric toys should be “UL Approved.” Check the label to be sure.
10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation. Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees.
“To prevent injuries, choose toys that are safe for the age of your child. Look for labels to help you judge which toys might not be safe, especially for infants and children under age three. For children of all ages, consider if the toys are suited to their skills and abilities. Look for labels that assure you the toys you are buying have passed a safety inspection, such as ASTM, which means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards,” said Dr. Joan Facelle, Rockland County Commissioner of Health.
For more information about toy safety, or for other childhood injury prevention tips, call the Rockland County Department of Health’s Childhood Injury Prevention Program at 845-364-3865 or visit the AAP website at www.healthychildren.org. For toy hazard recalls, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website at www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html.