Whether you’re picking out a present for your new nephew, or stocking up on toys “from Santa”, choosing safe toys and gifts for kids requires a little extra planning. Toy-related injuries are common, and send thousands of children to the ER each year. Protect the little ones on your gift list by prioritizing safety as you shop.
How to choose safe toys and gifts
Adhere to age-range recommendations.
Many toys and gifts include age labels for safety. Make sure your gift matches the age and individual skills and abilities of the child who will receive it. This is especially important for infants and children under the age of three.
Avoid high-risk toys.
Avoid strings, balloons, long tags, ribbons, marbles, and small coins. Do not give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries), which can cause choking, suffocation, and internal injuries if ingested. And, skip toys that shoot objects, as these can cause serious eye injuries.
Ensure the toy is durable, well-made, and easy to clean. Avoid sharp edges, spikes, rods, or items that could shatter, splinter, or be pulled apart.
Look for “ATSM” labels. This means a toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards. In addition, crayons, markers, and paints should be marked nontoxic. Ensure electric toys are “UL Approved”.
Add in protective gear.
Bicycles, skateboards, and scooters can lead to falls, slips, and serious injuries. Include properly-fitted protective gear and safety equipment in your gift. Helmets and knee pads are key to injury prevention.
Ensure batteries are difficult to access.
When it comes to battery-operated toys, make sure the battery case is secured with screws. This way, a child can’t pull or pry it open. Batteries and battery fluid can lead to choking, internal bleeding and chemical burns.