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Tips for buying safe toys for your kids this holiday season

December 08, 2014

This post was originally published in December 2013.

Every year on the night of Christmas Eve when my brother and I were younger, we would crawl out of our bedrooms and hide behind the couch that sat just in front of our family Christmas tree. We would wait there for what seemed like hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa putting our Christmas presents under the tree.

What was usually on our “wish list?” The latest and greatest toy, of course. Back in the day, these would include things such as Lego blocks, toy cars that you have to push around yourself, a play kitchen – you know, the basic things. But now, as technology has advanced, so have toys. It seems as if the latest and greatest toys that are on every kid’s wish list today has a blaring sound that can be turned off and on, a battery-operated remote, or can be taken apart into a million little pieces. Not only do parents now have to ensure they get something on their kid’s wish list, they also have to be extra conscious of a toy’s safety for their little one.

Here are some tips for parents to keep in mind while Christmas shopping to ensure that the toys being bought are safe for kids.

Read the label. Labels are there for a reason! They provide information on how to properly use the toy and at what age the toy is appropriate for.

Avoid extra noisy toys. Toys that are too loud could result in permanent hearing loss. This is especially true for infants, as they tend to hold toys close to their face (and ears). Be sure to keep the toy volume on a low setting, and remove the batteries if you think the toy is truly too loud.

The bigger, the better! Think big when it comes to your child’s toys to help prevent choking. Make sure that the toy is larger than your child’s mouth, and that it cannot be broken off into smaller pieces.

Be wary of batteries and magnets. We have seen many news headlines recently that shed light on the dangers of little magnets for kids when accidentally swallowed. If there’s a way, there’s a will, and your child will most likely find that tiny battery or magnet if there is one. If a toy does have batteries, make sure that the cover is properly screwed into place to prevent curious hands from pulling them out and accidentally swallowing them. Also, stay away from toys with magnets that can be removed, or become unglued, that are located on the outside of the toy.

Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. The force behind the object being shot into the air is sometimes enough to cause serious eye injuries if accidentally shot at a person’s face. If your child does have one of these toys, teach him or her how to properly use it, and make sure no one is standing in front of the toy when being shot.

Look for stuffed animals that are made well. Make sure that ribbons, clothing, etc. are sewn on properly, and avoid stuffed animals with ball-like pellets or stuffing to prevent choking if swallowed.

No toxins allowed. It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure the toy is labeled “nontoxic” to avoid potential injury or illness. And remember, just because a toy is made from a large manufacturer, doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to be safe!

There are so many toys lining the store aisles to choose from these days, and many pose no harm to your child. With the above guidelines, you can be confident that the toy bought is safe, while still being able to pick out a toy you know your child will love!