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Each year, thousands of kids are sent to the ER with toy-related injuries. The most common injury is small toy parts getting lodged in a child’s throat. Here are some buying guidelines to keep your little ones safe this holiday season.

Infants/Toddlers

  • Toys should be at least 1 ¼’’ in diameter and 2 ¼’’ long to prevent choking hazards.
  • If there are batteries, the compartment cover should be secured with screws so children can’t pry it open.
  • Make sure toys can withstand being chewed on.
  • Riding toys should only be used by children who are able to sit up on their own.

Grade school children

  • If you buy a bicycle, skates, or scooter, make sure you also purchase a helmet that meets current safety standards.
  • Darts should have soft tips or suction cups on the end.
  • Toys guns should be brightly colored so they’re not confused with real ones. BB guns, air rifles and pellet guns should not be used by children under the age of 16.
  • Make sure electronic toys are labeled UL, which means they meet the standards of Underwriter Laboratories (a safety consulting company).

General guidelines for all ages

  • All fabric toys should be flame resistant.
  • Stuffed toys should be labeled washable.
  • Art supplies should have a “nontoxic” label.
  • Be careful when buying vintage toys that may not meet current safety standards. Some of these toys may easily break, have small parts or even contain lead paint.

On behalf of the entire staff at Southeastern Med in Cambridge, Ohio, we’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.