Most toys are fun to play with, but some of them can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.
A study published in 2014 reported that a child goes to the emergency room every three minutes due to a toy-related injury – mainly from ride-on toys such as scooters or skateboards.
The average age of injury was five, with emergency room visits peaking at the age of two. Although most of the injuries weren’t serious – one in 10 was a broken or dislocated bone – but any emergency room visit is stressful and costly.
Superior Med offers the following suggestions to help ensure toys are safe for the children on your shopping list:
- Avoid choke hazards: Toys should be at least 1 ¼” in diameter and 2 ¼” long to prevent choking.
- Consider age: Make sure your toy gift is age-appropriate for the child. Will they be able to make smart choices on how to use the toy? Check the manufacture’s age guidelines if you’re unsure.
- Safety gear: If you buy a toy such as a scooter, bicycle or skateboard, be sure to also purchase the proper safety gear (helmets, pads for elbows and knees). Ensure proper fit.
- Don’t be shocked: Look for the UL label on electronic toys, meaning they have been inspected by the safety company Underwriter Laboratories. Check these toys occasionally to make sure they don’t show signs of damage.
- No-fire zone: Ensure fabric toys are flame resistant.
- Look for long strings: Straps and cords longer than three inches can be dangerous for children under three.
- Gun safety: Toy guns should be brightly colored to avoid confusion with real firearms. Carefully consider how appropriate items such as BB guns, air rifles or pellet guns would be for youth. These products pose legitimate safety risks and should not be used by children under the age of 16.