Safe Toys This Holiday Season

Everything you need to know about toy safety this holiday season

(RxWiki News) It's never too late to make sure your child's new toys are safe.

There isn't much time left to stock up on all the gifts that will be in stockings and under the tree Christmas morning — not to mention what Santa might bring, too. But it's also not too late to make sure all those new toys are safe for kids.

Whether it's making sure a particular gift is age-appropriate for a child or making sure it's made of high-quality materials, parents and other gift-givers want to be sure their presents will be a source of joy and not a danger to a child.

Here is what you need to know:

1) Avoid toys or toy jewelry that may contain lead. Some toys made of metal or plastic may contain lead. Pay particular attention to toys that have been imported, antique toys and toy jewelry. Lead can't be seen and has no smell, but it is dangerous.

One way to know whether your child's toys are safe is to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalled toys.

2) Take caution with laser toys. These may pose health risks to children and adults. To promote laser safety, keep the following tips from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mind:

  • Do not aim or shine a laser directly at anyone. This includes animals. Light energy from a laser can be very dangerous when aimed directly into someone's eye. In fact, it may be worse than staring directly into the sun.
  • Never aim a laser at any vehicle or shiny surface. The light can startle the driver and cause a serious accident.
  • Only look for and purchase toy lasers with an FDA-recommended IEC Class I label. If the label includes “Class 1 Laser Product," this means the product is considered low-risk.
  • Do not purchase a laser that emits more than 5mW or one that does not indicate the power on its label.

3) Be extra cautious about toys that contain button batteries or magnets. Accidental swallowing of button batteries or magnets can lead to serious stomach, throat, and intestinal problems and may even result in death. Button batteries can be found in holiday musical greeting cards, hearing aids and other small electronics/remotes that may be accessible to young children.

4) Choose a toy that suits the age and stage of development of the child. One major factor is age and the risk of choking on small parts. In fact, government regulations state that toys intended for children under the age of 3 can't have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long. If the toy suits the child's age and abilities, it is more likely the child will be engaged and reduces the risk for injury.

5) Take caution with these items:

  • Strings/ribbons (especially those that are longer than 12 inches, as they can become a strangulation risk)
  • Tags
  • Balloons (broken or uninflated)
  • Caps for toy guns (Do not let your child place them in their pockets, as they may ignite and cause a burn injury.)
  • Marbles
  • Plastic film covering found in toy packaging

Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions.

Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS