10 Tips for Toy Safety This Season

December 13, 2019
Christmas Morning presents

It is the time of year for giving and, consequently, a great time to brush up on toy safety. Here are ten tips to help parents, guardians, and other loved ones purchase appropriate gifts and supervise the use of those gifts to keep children safe.

  1. Helmets and other safety gear. The most important thing parents can do this holiday season is purchase and enforce the wearing of helmets and other safety gear when it comes to gifting bikes, scooters, skateboards, ATVs, and other similar gifts. Parents should model appropriate safety behavior by remembering to always wear their own safety gear when operating this kind of equipment.
  2. Check the age level. Parents likely already know how important it is to check a toy’s recommended age levels, but relatives may not remember to do this, so parents should remind them and keep an eye out for gifts that may not suit their children’s stage of growth. Small pieces can pose a choking hazard to younger kids. If parents have kids at different age levels, it is also important to supervise younger children around their older siblings’ toys. This is also important when purchasing bikes, ATVs or similar. The size guidelines lay out which size will make it easier for kids to operate these vehicles safely.
  3. Keep an eye out for recalls. That hot holiday toy that everyone wanted to get their hands on might be recalled by the time the kids open it. Keep an eye on the news and always pay heed to warnings about defective toys and always heed recall warnings.
  4. Toys with small parts. Toys with small parts or small pieces that come off easily can pose a serious choking hazard to small children. Make sure to purchase items that are well-made and age-appropriate even if that means veering away from items on your child’s list.
  5. Magnets. Strong magnets pose a serious threat to younger children. They are easily swallowed and can wreak havoc inside the body. The magnetic pull is often so strong that the magnets can pull together with enough force to cause serious or even life-threatening damage to the digestive system. Do not buy strong magnets for young children and supervise their use with older kids.
  6. Supervise kids using batteries. So many toys rely on batteries for the cool sounds and the flashing lights that make them attractive to children. These batteries can also pose a threat to kids if their use is not supervised. Button batteries are especially small and easily ingested and can lead to major injury or even death if eaten or even if placed into the nose because they burn through tissue in very little time.The acid within regular batteries can cause severe burns if the batteries are damaged or tampered with.
  7. Projectiles. We’ve all seen the classic, “A Christmas Story” and everyone can quote the “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid” line that is the reply to Ralphie’s request for a toy gun. Ralphie’s mom knew best. Even toy guns can pose real safety hazards if kids aren’t properly supervised and taught how to shoot by a knowledgeable adult. The same goes for any toys that shoot or launch something into the air. Kids should be taught never to point projectiles at other children and how to treat even toy guns with respect and caution.
  8. Throw away packaging immediately. In the chaos that takes over on holidays, paper is tossed aside, and plastic wrappers are discarded as kids reach for their new toys. Plastic wrapping and other packaging from gifts can pose a real suffocation or choking hazard for young children. Appoint an adult or older child to be in charge of throwing away or recycling all wrappings to stop the little ones from picking them up.
  9. Assembly. We all know parents want to put together that backyard play fort or new bike on their own, but it may be best, and safest, the leave toy assembly to the professionals. Consider purchasing bikes from a local store where an expert can help you put the bike together or hiring a handyman to work on the fort in the yard.
  10. Be aware of surroundings. With all of the excitement of new holiday toys, kids may not be thinking about their surroundings. Adults should go outside with kids when they are playing to remind them not to chase a ball into the road, remind them to wait their turn on the new slide, or to check that their bike helmet is securely fastened.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is here for you if you need us during the holiday season. All four of our emergency departments are open 24/7 365 days a year. NHRMC Urgent Care in Wallace and NHRMC ExpressCare in Wilmington are both open 365 days a year from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. You can get more information about all locations by going to https://www.nhrmc.org/services/emergency

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