Six guidelines to follow when buying safe and fun toys

Family Health
Dec 12, 2023

Over the next few weeks, millions of children across the country will rip off the wrapping paper to reveal their newest toy or game.

Toys can be great gifts, whether it’s for Christmastime or their birthday. The right toys can help children develop imagination and coordination. However, the wrong ones can do more harm than good.

Toy-related injuries send tens of thousands of children to the emergency room each year. Many injuries occur when patients give their children toys meant for older children. And while many toy manufacturers follow safety guidelines for their products, some don’t. Your challenge is to find toys your children will enjoy and that you know are safe.

Here are six suggested guidelines that can help you make the right choice when selecting a holiday or birthday gift for children.

  1. Watch for small parts
    Don’t give toys with small parts to toddlers and small children. These youngsters tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.
  2. Age appropriate
    Select toys to suit a child’s age, abilities, skills and interest level. Toys that are too advanced can pose safety hazards.
  3. Look for standards
    Look for the letters “ASTM.” This means that a product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Be sure to read any warning labels before buying toys. Also, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for a list of recalled toys and alerts.
  4. Choose well-made stuffed animals
    The eyes, noses and other small parts of stuffed animals should be securely fastened to reduce the risk of choking.
  5. Watch the action
    Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Slingshots and high-powered water guns can injure children they are aimed at. BB guns shouldn’t be considered toys.
  6. Inspect toys for solid construction
    They should be made of long-lasting materials, have no sharp edges or points and be able to survive impact. 

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