Toy Safety a Concern this Christmas

Toys are a fun part of every child’s life and an essential ingredient to the holiday season. However, some toys and gifts can pose a hazard for children. December is National Toys and Gifts Safety Month and State health officials would like to remind parents to take care when buying toys and gifts for children and adolescents.

Thanks to an increase in federal regulation, toy-related fatalities and toy recalls have steadily declined since 2008, according to a recent report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, toy-related injuries are on the rise. In 2009, there were an estimated 186,000 emergency room-treated injuries nationwide related to toys with children younger than 15, which is up from 152,000 injuries in 2005.

Toys with small parts can cause choking for children under the age of three. To determine whether a toy poses a choking risk, try fitting it through a toilet paper roll. If a toy or part of a toy can fit inside the cylinder, it’s not safe. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. For children under eight, avoid toys with sharp edges and electric toys with heating parts. Look for labels with age and safety advice, and use these as a starting point when selecting toys for your child.