By Amanda Mrkvicka, LSW, Pediatric Care Coordination Supervisor
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 174,100 toy-related injuries in 2016. Additionally, in 2017, CPSC issued 28 toy recalls for defects including choking, mechanical hazards and fire hazard that could injure a child.
When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. Before you make these purchases, it is critical to consider the safety and age range of the toys.
Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the individual age, skills and abilities of the child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age 3.
This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs, try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the AblePlay website for more information.
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard).
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled.
- Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries that can cause serious injury or death if ingested). If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age 3.
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic.”
CCHA care coordinators can help you connect with a provider, assess your needs and gain access to resources to help you manage your family’s health.
Call CCHA Member Support Services
303-256-1717 | 719-598-1540 | 1-855-627-4685 (TTY 711)
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.