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5 Tips for a Safe Holiday Toy Land

Your Health Matters

It’s that time of year when parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents venture into toy land in search of every tyke’s dream gift. But before you pull out your wallet, Meritus Medical Center offers five tips for a child-safe holiday season.

1. Avoid trampolines at all costs. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites trampolines as too dangerous for children’s use. Trampolines can cause femur fractures, broken wrists and spinal injuries. If you choose to purchase a trampoline, place the trampoline on level ground, limit bouncing to one child at a time and only use the trampoline under adult supervision.

2. Use scooters, hoverboards and electric mini cars with caution. Do not operate ride-on toys in the street and wear helmets and shin and wrist guards to prevent head injuries and broken limbs as a result of falls and sudden impact. It is recommended that younger children not ride older siblings’ scooters and hoverboards.

3. Be vigilant about choking hazards. Because babies and toddlers explore their world by putting objects in their mouths, be especially wary of toys with removable parts, board game pieces, Legos, small lithium cell batteries (button batteries) or anything that can fit through a cardboard toilet paper roll. Magnets, found in magnetic toys, not only pose a choking hazard, but can stick to intestines and cause bowel obstruction and result in emergency surgery.

4. Beware of the burn. Chargers and adapters for phones, tablets, laptops and hover boards may present a serious fire hazard. Chargers not properly manufactured may cause voltage bleeds, shorts and too much heat. Purchase charging devices made from reputable brands, don’t charge devices on soft surfaces or bedding and never charge them overnight or unsupervised.

Since 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards due to lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching on fire and/or exploding. Refer to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for a list of recalled devices.

5. Jump up to clean up. After the gift giving is over, parents should immediately clear the living space of debris. The sharp edges of plastic packaging can cause cuts and eye injuries, strings can lead to strangulation and cellophane wrap creates a suffocation threat. Also, pay close attention to cords and holiday decorations as they may pose strangulation risks.

Do your gift-giving homework and read warning labels. You’re not being a grinch, just a good parent or gift giver. Toys sold in the U.S. for children under the age of 12 must be tested to the ASTM International F963 toy safety standard. For the latest product defect list, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list at www.cpsc.gov/Recalls.

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