Shopping for toys? How to make sure they are safe

Put safety at the top of the list when choosing toys for young children, says the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Most parents are aware of the “age-appropriate” factor when they shop, says Sue Braga, AZAAP executive director.

But Braga adds that some may not realize that the high-tech toys that top the list for some kids can come with built-in risks to safety.

Look for a toy that is sturdy, made with non-toxic materials, isn’t too loud, and if it is an electric toy, that it is UL approved, says the AAP.

Ten tips from HealthyChildren.org on how to make sure toys are safe.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission highlights these five hazards that have caused injury or death in recent years:

  • Toys with small magnets, which can be swallowed and lead to serious medical problems if two or more magnets are swallowed.
  •  Toys with lithium button batteries that can be easily removed without a screwdriver and can be a hazard if swallowed.

Read more on what happens when a child swallows a button battery–and about the symptoms -in our RAK archives.

  •  Lead paint on recalled toys.
  •  Metals in children’s jewelry, which can include lead, cadmium and other toxic metals. Some manufacturers, now barred from using lead in children’s toys, began substituting cadmium, another dangerous metal.
  •  Any shooting toys or toys that have pieces that shoot or fly off. Reminder: BB guns and air guns are not actually “toys.” More on BB gun safety.

December has been designated National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Do your homework, says the AZAAP—don’t assume that all toys on your child’s list are one hundred percent safe.

Other sites that can help parents choose safe toys:

Kids Health.org

SafeKids.org

Recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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