December is recognized as  “Safe Toy and Gift” month.   The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has formulated a toy safety system which requires testing by independent, third party testing labs all around the world.  This system includes enforcing stringent lead and phthalates limits for toys and preventing the sale of dangerous toys once they reach the various ports in the marketplace.


With such a wide array of toys to choose from and a multitude of stores, it’s a challenge to determine the safest ones for your children during the holiday season.  In recent years, more than 262,000 toy-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms. The majority of injuries involved children under the age of 12, and more than 35 percent were children under the age of 5.

In light of these alarming statistics, here are some tips for safe toy selection:

  • Consider age appropriateness – age recommendations are typically based on safety and the developmental skills of children.  In addition, consider any younger siblings that may be sharing the toy.
  • Avoid inexpensive, tiny toys – although you may be tempted to purchase these smaller toys for stocking stuffers, think again.  These types of toys are the worst as far as choking hazards and/or can be easily swallowed.
  • Avoid toys with projectile parts –guns, planes, wooden instruments, etc., can cause eye injuries and abrasions.
  • Avoid toys with sharp, protruding edges – enough said.
  • Choose non-toxic toys – check that paint is lead-free and the item has a durable finish.  Look for the ACMI seal which signifies it is “non-toxic”.
  • Be on alert for toys with magnets – building sets, dolls, and action figures, just to name a few, may contain magnets that can be fatal if swallowed or tear tissue and cause damage to the intestines.
  • Consider if the toy could be a fire hazard – make sure all fabric toys are labeled as “flame-resistant” or “flame retardant”.  In addition, electrical toys can be a fire hazard and should be avoided for children under 8 years old.
  • Stuffed toys should be washable – prone to dust mites, viruses, and germs, make sure stuffed toys and stuffed animals are washable.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!




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