The holiday season is a magical time, especially for the little ones. Help your kids stay safe by gifting them age-appropriate toys.
Fara Smith, program manager for Safe Kids San Antonio at University Health, says toys come with age recommendations because some of them aren't suited for small children. Toys recommended for older children often come with small pieces that could be dangerous for younger children. Smith also gives tips on how to safely store your kids' toys after playtime.
Pick Age-Appropriate Toys
The first step to ensure your child’s safety is picking a toy that is right for their age and development. Toddlers can’t play with the same toys older children could play with.
For example, toys with small pieces could pose a choking hazard to babies and children under the age of 3. For children younger than 3, avoid toys with:
- Sharp edges
- Rigid points
- Button batteries
If you have older children, your little one may want to play with their toys, too. Separate your children’s toys so your little one doesn’t have easy access to potentially dangerous toys. If they want to play with their siblings’ toys, supervise them at all times.
Buy a Helmet that Fits
If you buy your child a bicycle, skateboard, tricycle, scooter or anything with wheels, make sure you buy them a helmet, too.
More than 280,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year for bicycle-related accidents. Many of these injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet on each and every ride.
Your child’s helmet should fit snugly and stay buckled while they are riding. If your child hits their head while wearing a helmet, throw that helmet out and replace it with a new one. That helmet will not be as protective if they hit their head a second time.
The Bottom Line
According to Safe Kids,174,100 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2016. Many injuries can be prevented by taking measures to ensure safe play this holiday season.
Keep these tips in mind when gifting your child their new favorite toy:
- Check the labels and warnings on your child’s toys before deciding if they are safe to play with
- Always supervise young children while playing
- Secure batteries in the toy so they don’t fall out, or choose a toy without batteries
- Be aware of product recalls
- Separate your older child’s toys from your younger child’s toys
- When you are done with playtime, store the toys in a secure box
Injury Prevention at University Health
Find more ways to keep your family safe all year long on our website.