A s the holidays creep closer, kids everywhere are holding their breaths in anticipation to open the long-awaited gifts sitting under the glimmering lights and wonderous tree in their home. Everyone has childhood memories of joy after opening a gift and finding the perfect new toy to play with, so now at the giving end, how can you get the children in your family what they wish for without risking household safety?
Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital is here to help with this issue. In honor of Toy & Gift Safety Month, we want to talk about what to look for when shopping for toys and what should be avoided. Every kid wants their holiday wish to come true, but just like when picking their clothes, shoes, and food, parents should be assured that their children’s toys are safe while still being fun.
The first step in getting the perfect toy is, of course, finding the toy! Shopping for gifts can be hectic this time of year, and when trying to navigate the toy aisle for the perfect gift, a lot of parents can become overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending options. Sometimes in the holiday spirit and excitement to get their children the right gift, safety factors associated with the toys can be forgotten. Before purchasing, be sure to pay attention to the labels and markers on each toy packaging. Here are some of the things in the labels to keep an eye out for:
- Any fabric toys should to be marked as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Stuffed animals and similar toys that are washable.
- Painted toys must be marked with lead-free paint.
- Art materials, like paint sets and Crayons, should be marked as nontoxic and their packaging should read ASTM D-4236, which means they have been safely evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Avoiding toys with sharp or pointed edges, small parts such as magnets and button batteries, or containing any rope or cord element. Sturdy toys that can withstand falling to the ground and other impacts are ideal as they are less prone to being broken, crushed, or fall apart to small, sharp pieces.
By following these guidelines, you will know you are getting safe toys for the young ones in your family. You will also want to make sure you pay attention to the appropriate age-ranges listed on toy boxes. These guidelines are there to help parents find toys that their children will enjoy at certain ages, as well as for child safety. Toys such as Legos should be avoided when gifting for a baby or toddler since this can cause a choking hazard for the inquisitive infants. Instead, large and soft-edged building blocks are more ideal for the younger kiddos as this prevents the likelihood of choking.
Finding toys that are appropriate for each child’s age and motor/developmental skill level will help in avoiding the potential hazards.
Safe Toy Storage
After the perfect gift is found and your little one has happily received their new favorite toy, it is also important to maintain your child’s toy box, as this is an important factor in their play time safety. We can teach our kids to always pick up after themselves and keep their toys clean, however parents are encouraged to routinely check for:
- Splinters or rough edges on wooden toys.
- Broken seams on stuffed and fabric toys that can no longer be repaired.
- Exposed electronic or mechanical parts of any toy that has audio recording, buttons, or can move.
- Chipped or cracked plastic toys.
- Rust or tarnish on any outdoor toys or toys with metal components.
Even though some children are not eager to get rid of old toys, children should be shown the importance of throwing away broken toys when the time comes so that their toybox remains safe and tidy. This allows for more exciting adventures with their newly received toys and with their existing toys, while parents remain at ease as they are assured their children are safe and happy.
Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital supports all of our local families this holiday season. We hope that every little boy and girl gets their favorite toys for the holidays and that parents can teach them the important of toy safety this month.