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Check children’s holiday toy list twice before purchasing gifts

Top 10 toy safety tips

Green Bay, Wis.  –  When shopping for holiday gifts, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital encourages you to prioritize safety over popularity. While it may be enticing to purchase the latest and greatest toy or gadget, it is important to check an item’s recommended age range and safety features.
“Toys have an age range for reason, whether it’s because of a potential choking hazard, a sound that’s too loud for developing ears or because it’s too advanced for a child’s stage of development,” says Dr. Thomas Huffer, Executive Medical Director of HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital and pediatrician at Prevea Health. “For older children, it’s important they understand the correct way to play with a toy to avoid injury to themselves or others.”
HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital recommends considering the following tips when shopping for and purchasing gifts this holiday season:

  1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages are appropriate for use. The recommended age level for a toy is determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity.
  2. Think big. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than the child’s mouth to prevent choking.
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. These toys, even those made of a soft material, can cause serious eye injuries or choking hazards.
  4. Avoid loud toys. Often a toy that plays music or talks is about 85 decibels, which is as loud as a lawn mower and can damage a child’s hearing, especially if a child holds the toy close to their ear.  
  5. Consider online safety. Toys with cameras and recording capabilities can store data in an unsecured mobile app, causing privacy concerns. Be sure to monitor these apps and toys and make settings private if possible.
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may easily break into sharp pieces.
  7. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for children younger than age 12. These kits can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals.
  8. Look for “UL Approved” labels. This label on an electronic toy indicates it meets industry safety standards.
  9. Be aware of toys with small batteries or magnets. Children may be tempted to put these objects (especially small “button” batteries) in their mouth nose or ears which can cause a choking hazard, injury or accidental poisoning.
  10. Prevent head injuries. Purchase a helmet to prevent serious head injuries if you buy a toy with wheels such as a bicycle, tricycle, skateboard or scooter.
For more details and tips regarding toy safety, please visit: www.healthychildren.org