When rushing to get your shopping done, it may be easy to nab the biggest and brightest toys that your child wants. But not all toys are what they seem; some can pose safety risks.
With so many toys on the market, it’s hard to keep track of recalls, choking hazards and potential hazards.
Dr. Gregory Gelpi, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health pediatrician, offered these tips to keep in mind when faced with shelves full of toys:
Not all toys are safe for all children — Follow the recommended age listed on the box and read any warnings for potential safety hazards. For younger children, select toys that offer a good balance and enrich a child’s skills and creativity.
Fun and more — Look for toys that focus on activity, creativity or learning. Activity toys, such as bikes and balls, can help develop coordination and improve motor skills. Creative toys, such as crayons and paint, can spark a child's imagination, while learning toys, such as books and games, can help build their knowledge.
Play it safe — Any toy that requires assembly should be put together before giving it to a child. Some toys have smaller pieces that can come apart and can be a choking hazard for small children. Inspect each toy to be sure there are no broken areas or missing pieces that can lead to a possible safety hazard.
Avoid it all together — Magnets — whether beads, jewelry or building sets — should not be allowed around children. Swallowing magnets can cause serious internal injuries. Also, be on the lookout for small batteries, which can be toxic if swallowed.
Stay in the know — Register any toys with the manufacturer. If there’s a recall, you’ll be notified and be able to dispose of this safety hazard. You can also check for recalls on other toys on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
When it doubt, don’t buy it. 'Tis the season of giving but being mindful of the potential safety hazards is the best gift.