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Don't Toy with Kids' Safety

A model castle fit for a king and a doll buggy that's ready to roll – for kids, toys are all about the fun factor. But, when it comes to choosing playthings, grownups need to keep safety in mind. Each year, toys injure thousands of children. So, on your next trip to the land of toys, keep these safety essentials in mind.

Read all about it – and heed the label

Toys often come with warnings. For example, the label on an item with small parts might warn, "Not recommended for children younger than 3 years." Take these cautions to heart – especially those regarding age. An at-home tip: Be sure older children keep their playthings out of reach of younger siblings.

Count on quality

Before you buy, consider a toy's construction and durability. For example, are there small pieces that might come loose? Will it break easily – and if so, will there be sharp edges? An at-home tip: Regularly check for damage. Discard any broken items.

Be wary of common hazards

These items can be particularly dangerous - and should be kept away from children:

  • Deflated balloons and pieces of popped balloons – more children suffocate on these than on any other toy.
  • Small magnets and button batteries – these can be very harmful if swallowed.
  • Anything with long strings or cords – these can get caught around children's necks and strangle them.

An at-home tip: Never hang items with long strings or ribbons from cribs or playpens.

Check your list for recalls

Find out if any of your child's toys have been recalled for safety issues – such as unsafe lead levels, choking risks or other hazards. Go to the Consumer Product Safety CommissionOpens a new window website and click on "Search" Be especially cautious with items purchased secondhand, for instance, at a garage sale or thrift store.

Source: Healthy Mind Healthy Body®, Karis Gabrielson, R.N., December 2011.

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