With the holiday season just around the corner, stores will soon be stocking their shelves with eye-catching toys and rolling out deals to draw families from one store to another.
Among all the hustle and bustle of pre-holiday rush, many parents will not (understandably) have the time or focus to read the warning labels on the toys they purchase. This can be a dangerous oversight.
In order to prevent accidents at home, we have outlined three major tips for choosing safe, age-appropriate toys this holiday season.
1) Read the age guidelines.
Every toy manufacturer includes guidelines that identify which age group can safely use the toy in question. Make sure to check these guidelines every time. It only takes a second, and buying the right toys for the right ages will allow the child to play safely and you to have peace of mind.
2) Watch out for small parts.
It is developmentally appropriate for small children to put things in their mouth – it’s simply how they experience the world. Knowing this, it is your job as a parent, caretaker, and/or loved one to prevent playtime choking hazards. But how do you know which toys are safe for a young child and which are not?
Here’s an easy test: any toy that is able to fit through a toilet paper tube is too small for any child under 3 years old. And inspect each toy carefully before handing it over — toys that seem innocuous in the packaging and easily pass the toilet paper tube test may have parts that break off and become hazardous. For example, dolls and teddy bears often have easily removable buttons or eyes. This can lead to a swallowed part at best or a choking incident at worst.
3) Avoid toys with button batteries.
Steer clear of any toy with a button battery that can be easily accessed by a child. Button batteries are the squat single-cell batteries used to power toys, watches, and hearing aids (among other items); their small, round shape and poisonous contents pose a big risk for young kids. Toy cars, light-up jewelry, and remotes are common culprits, so make sure to check that each and every battery-powered toy you buy (or household item within reach) is child-proof.