With the holidays approaching, it’s so easy to buy that special child in your life the coolest toy you can find. Like a 280-piece dump truck model kit you know your 3-year-old nephew will just love. But if you don’t check the toy’s intended age range, one or all of those 280 pieces might end up in his mouth instead, and put him at risk of injury or even death.
I might have bought that dump truck when my wife and I went shopping for our nephew this weekend, had it not been for a toy safety demonstration I recently sat in on here at Children’s.
Jesus Alderete, a coordinator with our Injury Prevention Program, recently shared with media how to keep the holidays accident-free by choosing safe and age-appropriate toys for youngsters. He said if a toy or its parts can fit through a toilet paper roll, it poses a choking risk for kids 4 and younger. Other tips included:
- Check the toy’s intended age range listed on the packaging, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Keep toys meant for older kids away from infants and younger kids.
- Buy dolls or stuffed animals with eyes that are sewn on, rather than plastic. Plastic eyes tend to fall off and are a choking hazard for younger children.
- For older kids, be sure to buy a helmet that they can wear with their new bike or other riding toys.
The information is a great reminder considering that since 2000, an average of 20 children a year have died in the U.S. after being injured or involved in accidents with toys, according to Safe Kids USA, a non-profit organization that works to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.
Thanks to Jesus’s guidance, my nephew won’t be getting that dump truck model for a few years. Instead, we went with an age-appropriate sea turtle night light.
You can read more about toy safety and the recommendations of our Injury Prevention Program here.