Editor’s note: A version of this story first appeared in 2012 and has been updated with new information.
It’s so easy to buy the kids in your life a toy that looks “fun” for the holidays. But the fun won’t last long if those toys pose a choking hazard or other danger.
Jesus Alderete, a coordinator with our Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Health, shared with us how to help keep the holidays accident-free by choosing safe and age-appropriate toys for youngsters.
His advice is crucial 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.
How to help keep your child safe
If a toy or its parts can fit through a toilet paper roll, it poses a choking risk for kids 4 and younger, Jesus said. You also should:
- 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. Small parts and batteries pose a big suffocation risk.
- 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.
- Buy a helmet for your child to wear with a bicycle, scooter or other riding toy.
Read more about toy safety and other helpful recommendations from the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Health.
Print the suitable toy buying guide
Click the toy buying guide below for a larger version you can print and take it with you when you go shopping this holiday season.