Each year, more than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the United States. Although meant to bring joy and entertainment, toys are linked to all too many injuries. Children ages four and under are at especially high risk. While falls and choking account for the majority of these deaths and injuries, children can suffer from strangulations, burns, drowning and poisoning while playing with toys. Appropriate selection and proper use of toys can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of such injuries.
When selecting toys, consider your child's age, interests and skill level. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels. You can also check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Website regularly to obtain information on recent toy recalls.
As a parent, you should ensure that toys are used in a safe environment. Riding toys (e.g., bicycles, scooters) should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools. You should also inspect your child's old and new toys regularly for damage and potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately or discard damaged toys out of your child's reach. It is also important that you teach your child to put his toys away safely after playing.
If your child is under age eight, she should not use toys with electrical plugs or batteries, as they are a potential burn hazard. You should also try to avoid using latex balloons with your young child, as children under eight can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. If you must use latex balloons, store them out of reach of children, do not allow children to inflate them, and deflate and discard balloons and balloon pieces immediately after use.
One of the most important things that you can do to keep your child safe while playing with toys is to always supervise him at play. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with children during play rather than supervising from a distance.
Source: Minnesota Safety Council