Wellness

Toy Shopping? Avoid Toys That May Damage Kids’ Mouths, Eyes or Ears

Recognizing December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Safe Toys

Huge smiles, giggles and big eyes. It’s fun to watch the expressions on kids’ faces when they open up holiday gifts, especially when it is a toy they have talked and dreamed about for weeks.

While you want to give toys that kids ask for, you also need to make sure they won’t injure themselves as they play with them.

Before purchasing toys for kids on your shopping list, consider these healthy and safe toy guidelines from experts:

  • Construction – Avoid toys with sharp edges, points, or small or removable parts, such as eyes or toy squeakers that may come off and become a choking hazard, break teeth and hurt the inside of the mouth, or be lodged inside the nose or ears; remember that older kids often have younger siblings who may play with the toy
  • Fabric – Look for labels indicating that the fabric is washable and flame resistant or retardant; toys that are sold or given away at carnivals, fairs or in vending machines are not required to meet U.S. safety standards
  • Noise level – Stay away from toys that produce an extremely loud noise, which may startle kids and contribute to hearing damage
  • Shooting objects – Toys with propelled objects may injure kids’ eyes, especially if they are not supervised when playing with the toy; make sure any projectile parts have soft tips or suction cups at the end, not hard points, and provide kids with safety eye wear
  • Appropriate age level – Toy manufacturers usually suggest an age range for a toy based on kids’ interests and abilities, as well as safety concerns
  • Non-toxic – Toys that kids may put in their mouths should have a non-toxic label on them, including art materials, stuffed toys, and other soft items that can easily become chew toys
  • Batteries – Toys with batteries should have the battery attached securely to the toy and should not be easily accessible to children
  • Secondhand or homemade toys – Carefully evaluate the toy to ensure that kids will be safe while playing with it; avoid painted toys manufactured before 1978, as the paint may contain lead
  • Action toys– Kids are often not supervised by an adult when playing with action toys; in fact, three out of four eye injuries to children occur when no adult is present, so before purchasing an action toy, consider whether parents will be available to ensure that their kids observe safety guidelines

Give fun and safe toys this holiday season! If you have any questions about the toys you are considering, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

What are some favorites for kids on your holiday gift list this season? What were popular toys when you were a child? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group

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