Top five tips for purchasing safe toys this holiday season

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Nov. 23, 2015) – More than 250,000 children are killed or injured while playing with toys each year in the U.S. As you’re doing your holiday shopping, local child advocates are offering advice that could help keep a child you love out of the emergency room.

“In general, most toys and games on the market today are safe,” said Erika Janes, R.N., coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville, led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. “Still, toys and games that are not age-appropriate or not used properly can cause serious injury or even death.”

Janes recommended following these tips when purchasing toys:

Read the label: Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and appropriate ages. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.

Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air: They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.

Remove any loose ribbons or strings: These can lead to strangulation and choking.

Be mindful of other children in the home: While a toy might be appropriate for one child in the household, it might not be appropriate for younger siblings. Toys with small parts, for example, are popular for kids over age 5 but can pose a great choking danger for those under 3.

Beware of button batteries: These batteries not only pose a choking hazard, but if swallowed they can erode the lining of internal organs — without any initial sign or symptoms.

Janes also said purchasing age-appropriate toys will spare your child (and you) hours of frustration.

“Younger children can get upset by playing with toys and games that are not suited to their physical or mental capabilities,” Janes said. “The age guidelines found on packages really are helpful.”

Safe Kids Louisville, a program led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Prevention and Wellness of Norton Children’s Hospital, is composed of public, private and voluntary organizations committed to preventing unintentional injuries, which are the leading cause of death and disability to children up to age 17, and to reducing the severity of such injuries, should they occur. The mechanisms of injury that have been targeted are falls, drowning, fires/burns, poisoning, choking, pedestrian and bicycle-related injuries, highway and railroad crossing injuries and injuries to motor vehicle occupants and drivers. This coalition, in conjunction with Safe Kids Worldwide, will unify efforts by providing leadership in injury control through education, research, media awareness, public policy and community action.

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