Tips for toy safety

12/14/2017  By HealthNews

December 14, 2017

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

Whatever holidays you celebrate this time of year, it's the gift-giving season. And while many of us have reached that point where we have what we need and aren't interested in getting more, the children in our lives are still very much in "presents mode."

As you select toys and gifts for the little ones in your life, keep safety in the front of your mind.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of children visit the emergency room due to toy-related injuries - most of them cuts and bruises to the head and face. Imagine the pain of the parent or loved one who bought the gift that led to the injury.

Thankfully, it's a situation that can be largely avoided.

We asked KVH ER nurse and gift-buying mom Hanni Johnson to share her perspective.

"Cheaply made toys and disposable items that are easily broken, including balloons, can become choking hazards quickly," she warns. "My kids are always destroying toys so I've come to really think about durability not only for longer toy enjoyment but also safety."

No one intends for a gift to "go wrong." That's why every December, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues a list of holiday safety tips. This year's list advises gift givers to: 

- check labels for age appropriate gifts, avoiding toys with small parts for children under 3
- purchase safety gear to go with scooters and riding toys, including helmets, sized to fit the child
- use caution with magnets, which can be dangerous and are not advised for children under 14

Like the CPSC, Johnson emphasizes the need for safety equipment. "Helmets for all wheeled vehicles and equestrian activities are a must." And keeping personal tastes in mind can go a long way in making sure that safety gear actually gets used. "There are all kinds of fun helmets out there to make it more appealing for kiddos," Johnson says.

Spoken like a true mom. The ER nurse in her quickly adds, "After all, we only have one brain!"

Related: CSPC toy safety video. Vigilant parents also can sign up for CPSC recall alerts.

Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.