Many of us are looking for toys that say “Made in America” this year. Personally, I think that’s a great idea, but regardless of where your tot’s toys come from there are several things you’ll want to take into consideration when it comes to safety and putting those toys together. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some good tips on toy safety that I thought I’d share before you’re all shopped out:
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. Boring and sometimes confusing, yes perhaps, but important.
• Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
• Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated. BUT
• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
• Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.
Happy shopping and good luck with those assembly instructions!