A Merry and Safe Christmas
As we enter the season of giving and receiving, it’s important to keep safety in mind, especially when it comes to gifts that our children may be unwrapping under the Christmas tree. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, approximately 122,000 children ages 15 and under were seen in emergency departments for toy-related injuries in 2021 – and 60% of them were ages five and under.
Toys come in many shapes, sizes, colors, materials, boxes, and bags—the list is endless. Children are just as diverse, and a toy appropriate for a certain little one might be harmful to another.
Keeping track of what’s safe can sometimes be overwhelming, but don’t fret. These tips can help to ensure everyone is safe not only during the holidays, but year-round, too!
How can you prevent toy-related injuries?
To find the “perfect” toy for your child, look beyond their wish lists and onto the labels. Read instructions and precautions the manufacturers include with their products. Once you’ve found a toy you’ve deemed safe, follow the rest of these safety tips to ensure a happy and injury-free playtime!
Watch out for sharp objects
Discard packaging material after opening and inspect the product for sharp points, edges, exposed wire, or other potentially dangerous aspects.
Look for choking threats
Check to see if the toy comes with any strings, cords, ribbons, or other materials that could pose a choking threat. Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, emergency department physician and injury prevention expert at Hasbro Children's Hospital, points to items like buttons, batteries, and small ornaments as potential hazards. "Anything that can fit within a toilet paper tube, a child can choke on," Zonfrillo said.
Encourage safety with older children
Teach older children the importance of play area safety and that while they might want to share toys, some might not be appropriate for their younger siblings or friends.
Keep it neat
If your child is old enough to understand, teach him/her to clean up the play area after use. This will reduce the risk of trips, falls, or others getting a hold of things that might be unsafe.
Check the condition of the toys
Keep toys in good condition. Not only are broken toys less fun, they can be potentially hazardous if they aren’t in good working condition. Be sure to toss broken or damaged toys.
Supervision is key
Ensure that your child’s fun space is hazard-free, whether indoors or out.
Stay notified of recalls
Sign up to receive recall information from the toy’s manufacturer, or visit www.recalls.gov to stay up to date.
Talk to your doctor
Your child’s healthcare provider can answer questions pertaining to your child’s unique developmental needs.
Visit Safe Kids for more on toy safety, as well as other important child safety topics.
With these tips, we hope your family can have a safe and fun holiday season. Enjoy!
About the Author:
Injury Prevention Center
The Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital has been active in reducing and preventing injury for more than 20 years in our community.
Lifespan Living Newsletter
Find a Doctor
The right provider is in our network
Search more than 1,200 providers in our network.