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Holiday Safety Tips for Purchasing Toys

This coming Friday is the largest shopping day of the year and about 50 percent of all toy purchases in the United States occur during the time period between Black Friday and Christmas day. Recent years have seen a string of headlines related to toy recalls based on the danger of possible personal injury.

Every year in the United States there are around 169,300 children ages 14 and under that are sent to a hospital emergency room because of an injury that stemmed from a toy. Because of new federal toy safety standards passed by Congress in 2008, parents of young children now have new tools to check the safety of new products and the safety of toys made before the recent safety standards.

Parents can check www.recalls.gov for information on product recalls for children's toys and other children's products such as cribs and backpacks. The site also allows parents to sign-up for email alerts on children's products. If a child receives a used or secondhand toy this holiday season, parents can check www.cpsc.gov to see if the toy was ever recalled. Experts advise parents to mail in product registration cards so that manufacturers can contact parents in the case of a product recall.

Here are five helpful safety tips on children's toys:

  • Ensure that toys that are designed for older age groups are stored separately from younger children's toys.
  • Keep any toys that have small parts away from children under the age of three.
  • Be sure to buy children the appropriate toy for their maturity level. When shopping consider the child's skill level, age and interest.
  • Keep toys in good repair or throw away toys that cannot be fixed.
  • Actively watch children while they play with toys that can be ridden upon and play with toys that have small parts, magnets, battery and electrical power, wheels, cords and strings or any other possible hazard.

Source: cachevallydaily.com, "Toy Safety Tips for the Holiday Season," Bear River Health Department, 11/18/10

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