Choose toys wisely.

This holiday season, choose toys for children that are safe and that enhance their development.

by Nashville General Hospital
A collection of toys

Protect your children from unsafe toys by following a few simple safety tips.

  • Choose age-appropriate toys by looking at the age recommendations on the package. Reputable toy companies will clearly state the appropriate age for the toy. Infant toys, such as rattles, squeeze toys, and teethers, should be large enough so they cannot enter and become lodged in an infant’s throat. For children younger than age three, avoid toys with loose small parts, which can cause choking.

    For children under age six, avoid toys with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, they can block the intestine or join together segments of the intestine. This can cause serious injuries or death. Loose wrapping paper and plastic packaging should be disposed of immediately to eliminate the possibility of choking.
  • Look for quality design and construction. Read reviews online to see what other buyers are saying about the toy and how well it is made. If possible, download a copy of the instructions to make sure they are clear and that the toy is appropriate for the child who will receive it.
  • Read the label to see if there are other safety warnings. Stuffed animals should be made with hygienic materials and washable. Children’s sleepwear should be flame retardant or flame resistant.
  • Include the protective gear if you are giving toys that require a helmet or pads. This includes bicycles, skateboards, skates, roller blades and other toys that are ridden.
  • Check the charger to make sure it is “UL Listed” or “UL Certified”. If the toy uses batteries make certain they are properly installed and secured.
  • Do a sound check if it is a noise-making toy. Some toys produce sounds at noise levels that can damage hearing.
  • Make safety a family activity by teaching older children that their toy may not be appropriate for their younger siblings. 
  • Balloons are dangerous , especially when uninflated or broken. More children have suffocated on uninflated balloons and pieces of broken balloons than on any other type of toy. Closely supervise children playing with balloons and immediately dispose of broken balloons.
  • Look for hidden dangers like breakable glass, sharp edges, sharp points, and cords and strings that can cause strangulation. Check the toys often. New toys may appear safe, but over time they can break exposing hidden dangers. 

Make this holiday season safe for the children in your life by shopping wisely.

If a child is hurt

In case of an emergency such as choking, severe burns, falls or cuts, do not delay and call 911. For scrapes and minor injuries, the specialists at Nashville Healthcare Center can help assess and treat the wound. Learn more about these services and make an appointment by visiting the Nashville Healthcare Center website for more information.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should talk with your primary care physician or other qualified medical professionals regarding diagnosis and treatment of a health condition.