While preventable injury isn’t a cheerful holiday topic, toy safety is an important consideration for children’s gifts.
Of course, as a librarian, I recommend: “Buy all of the kids on your shopping list some wonderful age-appropriate books!”
The Health Information Neighborhood partnered with Safe Kids Kansas to promote safe toys for kids with an eye-catching display outside of the Kids Library this month.
In 2011, more than 188,000 children under the age of 15 were seen in emergency departments for toy-related injuries. That’s 516 kids every day. More than a third of those injured were children 5 and under.
Tips on Toy and Shopping Safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
- Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy she/he received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
- Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death – after swallowing button batteries or magnets.
- Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age 8 to play with them.
- Remove tags, strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
- Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.
Here are some general guidelines from kidshealth.org to keep in mind when toy-shopping:
- Stuffed toys should be washable.
- Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
- Art materials should say nontoxic.
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Using Books to Talk with Kids about Toys
Talking about toy safety with smaller children can revolve around picture books about favorite toys or books in which toys are the characters or focus of the story.
Use our new Talking with Kids about Toys book list to find over a dozen choices to help you start a conversation about toys with the children in your life.