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Avoiding toy trauma: Safety tips for holiday toy buying

Christmas toys

As holiday toy shopping begins, physicians say safety should be at the top of our shopping list.

In 2016, an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency departments across the U.S. To help make smart, safe gift choices, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report offering guidance about potentially hazardous toys.

According to the report:

  • An estimated 73 percent of the toy-related injuries happened to children younger than 15. 
  • Non-motorized scooters were listed as the most dangerous toy.
  • Bumps, bruises and cuts were the most common injuries.
  • Heads and faces were the body parts most affected by these injuries.

“As you are making your lists and checking them twice this holiday season, be sure you think about safety, especially when it comes to children’s toys,” says Ronda Lusk, Via Christi Trauma Services outreach coordinator and coordinator for the Ascension Via Christi-led Safe Kids Wichita Area Coalition.

Lusk says when purchasing toys, be sure to consider your child’s age and development, and always read instructions and warnings that come with the toys.

“Make sure there aren’t any small parts or other potential choking hazards,” Lusk says. “If you have children of different ages be sure to store their toys in separate bins or containers so little ones don’t get ahold of toys with small parts.”

Here are some additional tips for shopping with safety in mind:

  • Study the label: It’s important to know how to properly use the toy. Read warning labels and instruction manuals to learn about proper play, and then give your child pointers on safe use. 
  • Shop for age-appropriate toys:  Check the packaging for age limitations.
  • Go big: To prevent choking, make sure the toys are too large to fit inside your child’s mouth. 
  • Buy safety gear: For bikes, scooters, skateboards and similar toys, make sure your child is properly fitted with a helmet and pads.
  • Check the sound levels: Avoid any toys that are too loud to prevent hearing damage. 
  • Beware of battery operated toys: Make sure your little one can’t remove the battery. “Button-style” batteries can cause potentially fatal internal burning when swallowed. 
  • Look for non-toxic toys: Make sure toys don’t contain toxic materials that could be poisonous.
  • No matter what, supervise your child: Any toy can be dangerous without parental supervision. 

And lastly, Lusk says, make sure you “take time to enjoy the holiday season.”

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