More than 262,000 kids were injured last year by toys that were given to them by unsuspecting friends and relatives. If , like most Americans, you’re planning to buy toys for the children in your life this holiday season, there are some important things you need to keep in mind.
The number one injury sustained by children is asphyxiation (often from choking on toy parts, small balls or balloons). Experts warn that if a child is under the age of three, don’t buy him or her anything small enough to fit through the cardboard tube of a roll of paper towels – about 1.25 inches in diameter. Items small enough to fit in those tubes are small enough for little ones to swallow and choke on.
In 2008, there were enough toy-related deaths to cause Congress to enact new legislation that toughened laws on toy manufacturers. Despite that, there are still hundreds of dangerous toys on American store shelves. Particular things to beware of:
Soft plastic toys or inexpensive metal costume jewelry may contain toxic levels of lead or dangerous coatings containing PVC. Check labels and avoid anything that fits that description.
Un-motorized scooters cause more personal injuries than any other toy in recent years. If you’re going to buy a child a scooter or bike, be sure to also buy the appropriate helmet and/or knee and elbow pads. Also, a safe set-up in a dangerous place is often the cause of injuries. Be sure that children play away from traffic, and if they are learning to ride a scooter or bike, be sure to do so on sidewalks that are well away from streets and traffic.
Toys that have small dime-size magnets or batteries in them and that can be opened should not be given to young children. There have been hundreds of cases of children choking or even dying from swallowing small batteries.
If you’re headed out shopping this weekend, be cautious with the toys you buy. Be sure to consider the child’s age, level of at-home supervision, and curiosity level before purchasing a toy.
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