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Health column: Top toy safety tips for parents this holiday season

in Health

The holiday season is here and for many kids that means one thing: toys. About 50 percent of all toy purchases in the United States occur between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas. While parents are on a mad dash to scoop up the hottest toys, Safe Kids Marathon County advises that safety should be at the top of their wish lists.

An estimated 166,200 children, younger than 15 years of age, were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2018, and almost half of those injured were children younger than 5.

Over 450 children a day are treated in emergency rooms across the country for toy-related injuries. With the holiday shopping season in high gear, it’s a great time to think about safety, as well as fun, by making sure toys are appropriate for a child’s age and maturity level.

Safe Kids Marathon County recommends the following five toy safety tips.

  1. Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game. Take time to read warning labels and instructions to make sure a toy is safe for your child.
  2. Keep a special eye on small game pieces that may be a choking hazard for young children. While these kinds of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.
  3. After play time is over, use a bin or container to store toys for next time. Keep the container out of reach of young children, and make sure there are no holes or hinges that could catch little fingers.
  4. Don’t forget the appropriate safety gear. For example, make sure you get a helmet to go with riding toys such as a bike, skateboard, scooter or any other riding equipment. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and sized to fit.
  5. Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include children’s toys, remote controls, singing greeting cards, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, calculators, key fobs, tea light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations.

In addition, if secondhand toys are purchased or received from friends or relatives, Safe Kids advises parents to visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, www.cpsc.gov, to make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Toys are recalled for various reasons, including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. If a new toy comes with a product registration card, it is helpful for parents to mail it in so the manufacturer can contact them if the item is ever recalled.

Amanda Tabin, Safe Kids and injury prevention coordinator at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

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