We all know how busy Santa must be right now!  He’s probably checking that list for the last time!    If you know any of his helpers, these are a few tips they might consider:

  • Buy age-appropriate toys.  Even though some children are exceptionally bright, most toys’ designs are suited for their age.
  • Be aware of toys that may contain lead paint.  Federal limits for lead in paint dropped to 90 parts per million, the lowest in the world, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Check labels and do not assume that all toys are safe.  They must be properly labeled.
  • If you purchase toys online, be careful, as hazard warnings are not always given.
  • Avoid toys with cords or long strings, as they could cause strangulation in small children.
  • Toys for tots should not have sharp edges or points.
  • Be sure soft, plush animals are washable and have secure eyes and noses that won’t come off.
  • You can be assured that little ones are going to put anything they can in their mouths, so be careful in choosing the size of squeeze toys, rattles, etc.
  • Paints and crayons should have ASTM D4236 on the package (American Society for Testing and Materials).For grade school children, helmets should be given along with bikes, scooters, skateboards, or inline skates.
  • Purchase arrows or darts with soft tips.
  • BB or pellet guns should not be purchased for children under age 16.
  • Avoid balloons, magnets and toys with small parts when selecting gifts for children under age 6.
  • If you choose electric toys, be sure they have the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) seal, to ensure the parts have been tested for safety.
  • Grandparents and other relatives should confer with parents when selecting certain toys, especially if they require supervision.

In 2008, the Commission reported 19 toy-related deaths and approximately 172,700 hospital emergency room toy-related treatments to children under 15.  Nearly half of these injuries (82,300) involved children under 5 years of age.    In order to make this holiday a joyous one, take time to consider the safety factors in selecting just the right playthings for your youngsters.


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