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Preschool Education Articles

Holiday Toy Safety

Images of the holidays include twinkling lights, holly, Christmas trees, and happy children playing with bright new toys. But in years past, there were 113,000 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States, with 95,000 involving children under 15.

No one can prevent all toy accidents. But we can prevent many, and we can lessen the severity of those that do occur by being careful in the selection, use and maintenance of toys. Here are some ways:

Choose toys with care. Know the age, interest and skill level of the child you're buying for. Look for quality design and construction. A sturdier toy which may be more expensive is a better buy than a less expensive flimsy version. Watch out for sharp edges and points, small parts (particularly for children under 3) and toys which make loud noises -- they can damage hearing.

Toys with cords and strings are dangerous for infants and very young children. They can easily become entangled in the cord.

Toys which shoot projectiles can become weapons and cause permanent eye damage. Electrical toys should be used only under adult supervision and never by anyone too young to understand that electricity is dangerous.

Read labels and follow manufacturer's age recommendations and instructions for use.

Discard all plastic wrappings immediately so they don't become deadly playthings.

Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards, such as splinters on wooden toys or loose screws.

Make repairs immediately. Teach children to put their toys away so no one trips and falls over them. If you use a toy chest, be sure it has a lid which is completely removable or one which stays open in any position to which it is raised so it will not fall unexpectedly on the child. Also be sure it has air holes for ventilation in case the child climbs inside.

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.

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