The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by UK HealthCare nurse Sherri Hannan, coordinator for Safe Kids Fayette County.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2021) — There are few things more top of mind for kids during the holiday season than toys.
Approximately 50% of all toy purchases occur between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas. While parents are on a mad dash to scoop up the hottest toys, it is important to keep safety in mind when buying gifts.
Each year, tens of thousands of kids are treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries; more than a third were children younger than 5 years old. As we move into the busiest toy-buying season, think about fun as well as safety by making sure toys are age- and maturity-level appropriate.
Safe Kids suggests you:
- Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game. It’s worth taking a second to read the instructions and warning labels to make sure it just right for your child.
- Keep a watchful eye on small game pieces that may be a choking hazard for young children. While these types of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.
- Use a bin or container to store toys while they are not in use. Make sure there are no holes or hinges that could catch little fingers.
- Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, some children’s toys, key fobs, watches, hearing aids, and flashing holiday jewelry or decorations. For any toys that use batteries, make sure the battery covers are screwed on tight.
- Stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace. Check for product recalls.
For the cost-conscious gift giver, regifting or handing down old toys to a new generation can be a great way to save money during the holiday season. However, some older toys may not meet current safety standards, or may be so worn from years of play that they can break and/or become unsafe. Check for broken or loose parts. Don’t gift any painted toys made before 1978 — they may contain lead paint.
Even if your child seems mature for their age, you should still buy only toys that are appropriate for their age level instead of buying a more advanced toy that your child can “grow into.”
Keep the holidays merry and bright by keeping kids safe.
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