Being a parent can be stressful, especially during the holidays. It can be tempting to pursue every toy on your child’s wish list, but it’s important to verify that the toys you ultimately purchase are both age appropriate and safe.
“Most toys do have a reasonable amount of labeling to suggest if there’s a risk of small parts that children can bite off or eat,” says Dr. Romanello, Chief Medical Officer at Fort Hamilton Hospital. Read warnings and instructions carefully, especially for toys purchased for babies and toddlers. Young children are especially vulnerable to choking hazards.
“Certainly a one-year-old or two-year-old doesn’t need to be playing with small toy cars, for example,” says Dr. Romanello, “where the wheels could come off and could get choked on or inhaled.” However, the most common new danger to young children is button batteries, which can be incredibly dangerous if ingested. These types of batteries are smaller and flatter than traditional cell batteries, making them easier for children to swallow.
In addition to avoiding toys with small parts, parents and caregivers should also watch out for popular toys for older children that pose safety risks. Children using backyard trampolines, non-motorized scooters, and hoverboards suffer an increased risk of brain injury and even death. Helmet use can dramatically reduce these risks.
Dr. Romanello suggests using reasonable safety precautions at all times during the gift-giving season. “Watch out for being poked in the eye with a new toy sword or an antenna on a radio-controlled car,” he says.
When it comes to holiday giving – be smart, and be safe.