5 tips for buying safe toys

February 16, 2017

It's magical when a child holds a treasured toy for the first time. That precious look in the child's eyes iStock-520623716.jpgsays it all. For grownups, that's the joy of giving toys for birthdays, holidays--or just because.

But while kids want fun stuff, they need safe playthings too. Thousands of toy-related injuries happen every year. So keep these safety tips in mind on your next trip down the toy aisle:

1. Read labels carefully. Labels on toy packages can help you decide if the toy is safe for a child's age and matches his or her interests and abilities. Make sure the label says the toy is nontoxic--meaning it doesn't contain materials that could poison a child.

2. Look for potential hazards. For instance, loud toys can harm a child's hearing. Strings or ribbons on stuffed animals can cause strangulation--remove them if the gift is for a young child. And small game pieces are OK for older kids, but they may choke a younger child if swallowed.

3. Think twice about flying toys.Toys that shoot things into the air can be a blast. But some parts may injure eyes or be choking hazards.

4. For young kids, avoid toys that need to be plugged in. Children under 10 are safer with battery-powered toys instead. Just remember to keep any button batteries--which might be swallowed-away from younger siblings.

5. Hand them a helmet too. Buying a riding toy? Don't forget to include this safety gear for your skateboarding teen or tricycling tyke.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Safe Kids Worldwide

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