Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Toy Safety Tips for Holiday Shoppers


toy bike safe

As parents and others prepare for holiday shopping, a safety expert at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt offers tips to avoid the year's most dangerous toys.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 120,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year.

Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program manager at Children’s Hospital, suggests keeping the child’s age in mind while shopping for toys this holiday season.

“All toys should have an age recommendation on the packaging. It’s important to read labels carefully, especially for children under age 3,” Unni said.

Unni urges gift buyers to purchase helmets and other appropriate safety gear for toys such as scooters, bikes, skateboards, and inline skates.  

Safety precautions parents can take to avoid toy-related injuries

  • Look for quality construction.
  • Make sure children follow safety guidelines when playing with new toys.
  • Check toys regularly for broken parts, chipped paint, or sharp edges.
  • Make sure all crayons, markers, or other art supplies are labeled non-toxic.
  • Ride-on toys often result in the highest number of toy-related injuries. Make sure your child has the proper protective equipment and always wears a helmet.

Choking hazard precautions

  • Avoid marbles and balls with a diameter of less than 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters).
  • Avoid toys with cords or strings longer than 7 inches.
  • Purchase Mylar balloons instead of latex. Never allow children to inflate or deflate balloons.

Items to avoid this shopping season

Button batteries
These coin-sized batteries are found in remote controls, watches, key chains, and musical greeting cards. They can become lodged in a child’s esophagus and can cause significant problems within just a few hours after they are swallowed.

Avoid building sets with small magnets for children under 6. If swallowed, serious injuries or death could occur.

Projectile toys
Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts, and slingshots aren’t recommended for any age. If they are purchased, they should be only for older children.

Chargers and adapters
Battery chargers should always be supervised by adults. Battery chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards.

BB guns
BB guns should not be considered toys. Children require proper training and supervision while using a BB gun.

Last Edited: October 28, 2016
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