How to Choose Safe Toys for the Children In Your Life

December celebrates the world’s most popular holidays — Christmas and the coming of a new year. The month of giving also sheds light on National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, which fosters the confidence of American families as they prepare to shop for toys this season.

Why Is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month Important?

According to SafeKids.org, about 188,400 children under the age of 15 were sent to the emergency room for toy-related injuries in 2011. Over a third of those injured were children 5 and below. Some kids accidentally choked on a small piece of toy, magnet, or battery. Others suffered from poisoning due to harmful chemicals in plastic toys.

Whether it’s the holiday season or a child’s birthday, avoiding accidental harm entails being aware of the gifts you’re giving. Below are five tips and tricks on how you can purchase safe toys for the children in your life.

1. Inspect the age range

The age range on a toy’s packaging lets you know if your child is old enough to play with it. If you consider a toy that is beyond the age range of your son or daughter, there could be small bits and pieces that may harm them.

2. Check for choking hazards

Speaking of small bits and pieces, toys such as jigsaw puzzles, plastic construction toys, and DIY accessories present choking hazards to young boys and girls. Here is a good rule to follow from HealthTradition.com: If a toy can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not suitable for kids under age three. Also, avoid giving your toddlers any playthings with magnets or batteries, as young children tend to put small things in their mouth.

3. Look for the “ATSM” label

Finding the “ATSM” tag on your child’s toys is crucial to their safety. The label suggests that the item has passed a rigorous safety inspection and has met the guidelines of the American Society for Testing and Materials.

4. Purchase safety gears along with any sports equipment

Sports equipment, such as bikes, roller skates, scooters, and skateboards put your child at high risk of cuts and broken bones. If your son or daughter wants anything sports-related for Christmas or their birthdays, make sure to buy the appropriate safety gear to prevent serious injuries. In addition, make sure that their safety equipment, including helmets and guards for the elbows and knees, fit them properly.

5. Examine gifts from friends and family before giving them to children

Not everyone knows the potential harm a toy or gift may present to a child. As an added step of precaution, inspect all toys before handing them to your kids. Some things to be wary of are broken pieces of plastic, the presence of lead, and toxicity in crayons (only give your kids non-toxic art supplies).

We hope that whatever it is you’re celebrating turns out safe and healthy for everyone. Should you or your family members become ill during this time of year, do not hesitate to contact your primary care provider and make an appointment.

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