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Choosing safe toys for Christmas can prevent significant injuries from occurring during the holiday season. But while parents are shopping shopping, they often don’t think about the safety risks of toys. Many years, a new ‘hottest toy’ hits the market just in time for holiday gift-giving. While the toys are usually safe for kids, sometimes these toys can be hazardous to the health and safety of your family.
What types of toy injuries don’t parents think about?
Annually, there are an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in American hospitals. Fortunately, most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes and bruises. However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. Knowing what dangers toys can pose will help you pick the safest toys for your kids this Christmas.
Riding toys are one of the most dangerous types of toys. In fact, riding toys are associated with 54% of toy-related deaths. Children who get non-motorized ride-on toys should be under adult supervision at all times. In addition, they should learn that they are not to enter the street for any reason. If your child isn’t ready to handle the responsibility of riding a bike, motorized toy, tricycle, or skates within the confines of your rules, avoid these toys.
Choking hazards exist in many toys. At least 75% of choking deaths occur in children under age 3 years of age. Many parents know that they should choose age-appropriate toys for holiday gift-giving. However, they may be unaware of dangers that can exist even in toys intended for young children. Button batteries and magnets are the hidden dangers in many toys. In addition to toys, button batteries can be found in other unsuspecting places such as:
- Musical greeting cards
- Hearing aids
- Other small electronics
Other choking hazards or suffocation hazards can include uninflated balloons, marbles, foam balls, eyes or stuffing from stuffed animals.
We are all aware of the seasonal hazards concerning Christmas decorations, especially Christmas trees. However, young children, particularly toddlers, are prone to electric shocks from toys as well. Child electrocutions may occur when electrical products aren’t plugged into proper circuits. In addition, children may want to take their new toys into the bathroom with them. Parents should keep a close eye on their children and make sure they keep the electronics and extension cords out of the bathroom or away from areas with water.
Head injuries are serious business. Even a slight concussion can have long-lasting consequences. However, head injuries can be avoidable if the proper protective gear is worn. If you get your child a bike, skates, or a scooter, make sure you get them a helmet to ensure that their head is safe.
Eye injuries aren’t on anyone’s Christmas list; however, toys that shoot projectiles at high speeds are a danger to everyone around—parents included. In addition, sharp toys such as claws and swords can seriously damage the eyes.
Nearly every electronic device you purchase your child this Christmas will have online capabilities. It’s important to remember that there are predators lurking in the most innocent of places. Parents should speak openly with their children about the dangers they may run into online. If you allow your child to use certain apps or websites, double-check age requirements. It’s OK to monitor your child’s online use. Finally, create an environment that makes your children feel comfortable enough to talk with you about strange behavior from others online.
Best practices for buying safe toys for Christmas
Most toy injuries can be prevented by simply ensuring the toys are age-appropriate and are played with properly. However, even toys you believe are safe may have design defects that can hurt your children. To keep your children during their holiday break, do the following when Christmas shopping:
- Read labels to ensure you are using toys properly. Labels will tell you all of the important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. It’s important that you play with the toy with your child to teach them how to properly use it.
- Check for toy recalls before heading out to buy the items on your child’s wishlist. Toys can be recalled for a number of reasons, including product defects, defective labels, lead and several other issues.
- The bigger the toy, the safer it is for young children. Young children should have toys that are larger than their mouths to prevent choking.
- Purchase electronics that UL Approved. UL is a world leader in product safety testing and certification.
Toys to avoid
Buying safe toys for Christmas also includes being sure about which toys to avoid. While toys like Nerf guns are Christmas Day staples, they can also lead to significant eye injuries. Generally, it’s best to avoid toys whose selling point is high-speed projectiles. Other toys to avoid include the following:
Loud toys. It may not be something many parents think about, but loud toys can damage your child’s hearing. Prevent damage by buying toys with adjustable volumes.
Hobby or chemistry kits for children younger than 12. While these kits may encourage STEM thinking, they can also lead to fires or create dangerous chemicals. In addition, parents should ensure their older children know to properly handle science kits.
Toxic materials. Make sure toys are non-toxic. This information will be available on the labels.
Plush crib toys. According to a 2018 article from Reuters, between “1999 to 2015, the amount of suffocation death rates for babies young than one year rose from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 U.S. infants. If buying crib toys for infant children, avoid:
- Loose bedding
- Soft bedding
- Products that can lead to suffocation or strangulation
In addition, hanging crib mobiles should be out of your baby’s reach.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
The holiday season is the perfect time to evaluate the safety of your child’s toys. Choosing safe toys for Christmas is the best way to begin building your child’s collection of toys that won’t harm them. More than a quarter-million children visit the ER each year. For this reason, it is important that parents stay in the know of what risks to watch out for. However, the unseen and unpredictable risks are the risks that pose the most danger to your children. Defective toys and other children’s products can put children at risk of living with long-term injuries.
If your child suffered injuries from a dangerous toy, contact a child injury lawyer. These legal experts can help you determine the next step in your child’s recovery process.