SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Around 700 children wind up in the emergency room every day with toy-related injuries, according to Safe Kids Georgia.
With about half of all toy purchases in the United States occurring between the peak shopping period between Black Friday and Christmas, experts say that the holiday season is a great time to think about toy safety.
“Toy safety is really a category that should expand throughout the whole year, but because we’re doing so much shopping, and so much of that shopping is toy-related and toy-centric, the holidays are a really good time to just make sure that you’re buying [safe toys] for your child,” Sam Wilson, the Safe Kids coordinator for Memorial Health, told News 3.
Below is helpful advice from Safe Kids Georgia regarding toy safety this holiday season.
1. Consider your child’s age
Wilson advised making sure that whatever toys or fun items purchased for a child are suitable for his or her age group.
Safe Kids Georgia says it’s worth taking a moment to read instructions and warning labels to make sure the toy is age-appropriate.
2. Keep a special eye on small game pieces, batteries
“A lot of times, we like to get family games and play board games,” Wilson said. “In general, a lot of those family games include very small pieces, so make sure you’re putting those pieces away after you’ve used those games.”
He added that any small items, including the small, coin-sized lithium batteries that power some toys, should be kept out of reach of kids when it’s not playtime.
Items that use those types of batteries include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, tea light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations, according to Safe Kids Georgia.
The batteries could pose a risk of electric shock if placed in the wrong hands, said Wilson.
3. Put items away when playtime ends
Wilson recommended showing children how toys are meant to be played with by sitting down with the child and playing with the toys or games together.
“Then, when it’s time to put those toys away, make sure they’re put in a bin,” he advised.
4. Stay informed about recalls
5. Be careful with secondhand toys
“A lot of times, [handed-down toys] can be risky because you cannot necessarily track the recalls,” Wilson said.
“You don’t have the product information, you don’t have the label that came with it, so make sure that you’re really paying attention to some of those hand-me-downs that you get.”