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Shopping for kids this holiday season? Keep these tips in mind

dad and son shopping in snow
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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. 12, 2022) — 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.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for gifts. This is especially important for aunts, uncles, grandparents and other family and friends who don’t shop for kids on a regular basis and may not know what’s safe and appropriate for children.

  • Consider the 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 or button batteries that may be a hazard for young children. While these types of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.
  • Don’t forget a helmet. If you are giving a bike, skateboard or scooter this holiday season, be sure to include a helmet to keep them safe while they’re having fun
  • 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.”

By keeping these tips in mind, you can help kids have a fun and safe holiday season.

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