Toy Safety Tips for Gift-Giving Season

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” is the famous response to 9-year-old Ralphie Parker’s air rifle request in the movie classic, “A Christmas Story” and right on trend with Safe Toys and Gifts Month in December.

Hasan Othman, MD, a pediatrician with Memorial Care, is also a parent of a six-month-old. While his son isn’t old enough to request toys from Santa yet, Dr. Othman encourages parents through his practice to be aware of potential toy risks, especially to younger children.

“Children under the age of two often explore new toys by putting things in their mouths,” Dr. Othman said. “If you are at a family gathering with small toy parts like LEGO bricks or baby doll accessories, make sure those are kept on a table away from curious toddlers.”

Additional Tips for Safe Holiday Gifts

  • Always read labels to check recommended ages.
  • Think large when your children are small. Make sure toy parts are larger than your child’s mouth or could not pass through a toilet paper roll.
  • Look for well-made stuffed animals or toys without ribbons or strings that could pose a strangling hazard.
  • Find toys listed as “non-toxic” especially blocks, plush toys and crayons.
  • Check electric toys for “UL Approved” label which means they are tested and certified.
  • Save hobby kits or chemistry sets for children over the age of 12.

“When shopping for toys, the goal should always be safety over anything else,” Dr. Othman added.

For information on toy recalls, visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Other Resources

Child Scared of Santa? Tips to Calm Fears

Pink Eye: Symptoms and Prevention

Flu Cases Rising Rapidly: How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones