Safe Toys & Gift Month


Christmas is a joyous time of year with lots of presents for kids, holiday cheer, and family get-togethers.

Nevertheless, it only takes a second for a child to become injured from a toy if they aren’t being adequately supervised. During this holiday season, it is critical to understand the types of injuries that can be sustained from toys, and how to keep children out of harm’s way when they receive their gifts.

Here are some “DOs” to keep in mind:

  • DO inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
  • DO be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • DO look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • DO make sure gifts of sports equipment are accompanied by protective gear (e.g., give a helmet with the skateboard).

Also some DO NOTs to consider:

  • DO NOT give toys with small parts to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
  • DO NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.
  • DO NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

More than anything, children need supervision when playing with toys because their minds are still developing. They are often unfamiliar with new toys, and injuries are all too common. By knowing the safety hazards involved and how to prevent injury, kids this year will be better off with their new toys.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is age appropriate.
  • Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home that may have access to the toy.

Finally, always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately. According to the recent statistics, more children have suffocated from balloons than any other type of toy.

Enjoy Christmas and holiday time with family. Should a child be injured with a toy, be sure to contact your medical provider immediately. If you do not have a medical provider, contact the CCMH Medical Clinic at 712-265-2515. If the injury is an emergency, call 9-1-1.