Keep toy safety at the top of your holiday shopping list
- Copyright © 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
’Tis the season for holiday gift shopping. The hustle and bustle to find just the right toy for a child can present challenges.
When choosing toy gifts this holiday season, keep safety, age-appropriateness, and the child’s needs and interests in mind.
Following are tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to consider while shopping for toys:
When selecting stocking stuffers and other trinkets, beware of toy jewelry that may contain lead or cadmium. Both substances can be harmful to children who put items into their mouths.
Small items also can be risky for young children. For children under age 3, choose toys that are at least 1¼ inches in diameter and 2¼ inches long, so they will not lodge in a child’s mouth or throat.
Toys containing magnets also pose risks to young children. If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.
For older children who find electronic gifts exciting, parents can help set a balance by also offering creative toys. The AAP recommends that children over age 2 have no more than two hours of screen time each day from all sources of media (e.g., television, video games and the Internet). Check the label to make sure electronic toys are “UL Approved.”
If a hobby or chemistry kit seems like a wise educational gift, the AAP recommends giving these types of toys to children age 12 and older.
With tight economic times, parents may opt to purchase gently used items from garage sales, online sources and secondhand stores. While it may save money, parents should check that the item has not been involved in a recall by visiting the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site, www.cpsc.gov.
Finally, the AAP advises parents to 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. If a toy is not in good condition, throw it away.