House Call: Toy Safety Part 1

Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 2:44 PM EST
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When it comes to purchasing toys for the holidays, it is critical to consider the safety and age range of the recipient. Joining us for this week's House Call to help us make a safe, toy purchase is Brittanie West, DO, UHC Family Medicine and faculty at UHC Family Medicine Residency Program.

1.) So the holidays are upon us and only 11 shopping days left until the big day, why do we need to be so careful with regard to toy purchases?

It is important to give special consideration when purchasing a toy as there are 185,000 toy-related emergency room injuries reported annually. So make sure the toy you wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive your gift. This is especially true for infants and children under the age of three.

2.) While considering a toy purchase what should I pay special attention to when shopping the toy aisle or on-line?

This holiday season and beyond, please consider the following tips for choosing safe toys for all ages.

Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.

3.) Is there a stamp of approval on toys that consumers should look for this holiday season?

So, you want to look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection—“ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

This standard includes requirements and test methods related to small parts, sharp points and sharp edges, chemical and material safety, ingestion, pinching, battery overheating, use and abuse, and other potential hazards. Its aim is to reduce possible safety hazards of toys. Since 1986, ASTM International's Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety (F963) has been considered the "gold standard" for toy safety.

4.) What are some toys that you should really avoid?

Knowing what to look out for can make a big difference in preventing possible injuries from well-intentioned gifts. We all think that a simple gift like crayons are harmless; however, you need to read the packaging of a box of crayons to ensure that the crayons you buy are nontoxic. Stay away from small parts, magnets, and button batteries. Children can accidently swallow these items. Make sure to read the packaging to ensure safe play.

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