Toy Safety

Here's a timely article from Barbara Hillary, PhD., a well-known authority on child development.

Toys are the most popular gifts for children. While selecting an appropriate gift for a child though you must bear in mind that the purpose of children’s play is beyond entertainment.

Play stimulates children’s creativity, lets them discover the world they live in, and also provides them with an opportunity to develop social and physical skills. The parent’s role is to provide their children with a safe environment for exploration, discovery, and play. Therefore, all parents (and anyone else purchasing gifts for children) should make sure that they select safe and age appropriate toys for their little ones.

Consider these toy safety tips:

1. Select age-appropriate toys.

2. Read instructions before buying/allowing your child to play with a new toy.

3. Children younger than 3 years should not be given toys containing small parts or that are easy to break.

4. Children younger than 8 years should not be given toys with sharp edges or points.

5. Remember the “toilet paper roll rule”: any toy that can fit through the toilet paper roll is to small for children younger than 3 years (paper bags and deflated balloons fit this category too!).

6. Avoid toys that shoot small objects into the air.

7. Avoid loud toys.

8. Always remove ribbons and wrapping paper completely before giving toys to small children.

9. Children younger than 10 years should not be given toys that require being plugged into the electrical outlet (this prevents burns and electrical shocks). Select battery-operated toys instead.

Why should we be concerned about toy safety?

In 2004, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported 16 toy-related deaths. Over 210,300 children younger than 15 years were also treated that year for toy-related injuries in emergency rooms across the U.S. More than 35% of injured children were younger than 5 years of age.

Many of you probably heard on the radio or TV about recent recalls of toys imported from China due to high lead levels. You may want to review the list of recently recalled toys at the American Academy of Pediatrics website before you start shopping for toys this holiday season.

How can we assure the safety of toys?

First of all, review the list of recently recalled toys at the American Academy of Pediatrics website. Second, rely on reputable American sources for natural toys. And last but not least, consider introducing to your children to traditional toys such as teddy bears, dolls, blocks, etc. that cultivate the development of the imagination. Remember that good toys do not have to be expensive!

When going shopping for toys, consider that all toys could potentially be dangerous. You have to do your own research before making an educated purchase decision.

1. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website or call them at 800-638-2772.

2. Avoid trendy toys.

3. Consider natural toys such as wooden blocks, dolls, & teddy bears.

Dr. Hillary is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a doctoral degree in health promotion and risk reduction. She works as a pediatric clinician and writes for Plugged in Parents. Plugged In Parents provides up-to-date info on pediatric health, safety and nutrition along with movie reviews, recipes, tech-savvy tips, and a parent’s only forum. You can also contact Dr. Hillary for personal questions related to health and nutrition. Please visit

Article Source:,_PhD

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