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Tips for holiday toy safety

  • Tips for holiday toy safety

    ’Tis the season to be jolly—and to spend a lot of money bringing cheer to your loved ones. Holiday retail sales in 2019 are expected to be somewhere between $727.9 and $730.7 billion—an increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over sales in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The average consumer, the NRF found, will spend about $1,047.83 in the holiday season. It's no wonder when you consider Amazon's Top 100 Toys list, which includes $70 "Avengers" gloves and $99 singing panda bears.

    Being inundated with all the bells and whistles of ads and wish lists can make it hard to suss out which toys are most appropriate for children's gifts. And while adults may disagree on budget, wastefulness, or exactly how many L.O.L. dolls one child truly needs, we can all agree that safety is the baseline.

    To that end, Stacker used a variety of holiday and safety resources to compile a list of 15 tips for holiday toy safety. Our list is not about toy recalls, per se; although we tell you where to check for toys that should not be on your list. We curated the top tips for not only toys, but ancillary items you may not consider dangerous such as batteries, decorations, and wrapping.

    In a 2018 report issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was noted that an estimated 226,100 children were treated for toy-related injuries in hospital emergency departments in the United States. We hope that you take a few minutes to click through our slideshow and read the tips to keep your child safe this holiday season. Whether you are purchasing a toy or device, reviewing instructions on how to assemble or use a toy, or selecting decorations, please be safe.

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  • Purchase age-appropriate toys

    Take a moment to read the age level of the toy you are buying. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes the importance when buying toys to not only look at the age level but also be aware that the toys match the ability, skill, and interest level of your child. Advanced toys may frustrate your child and/or pose safety hazards when in the hands of younger children.

  • Ensure children ride safely

    Whether you buy your child a bike, toy car, or scooter, be sure they are riding in a safe place and wearing proper equipment. Helmets are essential when children are riding bikes, scooters, Segways, and other objects where their heads need protecting.

  • Check for toy recalls

    The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has a recall list of products that have been taken off the shelves. The site also includes statistics, blogs and, alerts.

  • Choose toys to bolster development for babies and toddlers

    Give your baby or toddler a head start by selecting educational toys. Cup toys are great for babies up to 1-year-old while building toys are ideal for toddlers. Along with choosing safe toys, selecting educational ones helps build cognitive and motor skills.

  • Set rules for devices

    Overuse of digital devices can have long-term negative effects on a child. Risks include obesity, lack of sleep, social and learning delays, and behavioral problems. Set rules like no devices at dinnertime or bedtime.

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  • Use caution when selecting toys with button batteries

    While some toys require button batteries to operate, they can pose harm for children. Serious stomach, throat, and intestinal problems have been reported after children swallowed button batteries. Be mindful that button batteries are also found in musical greeting cards and other small electronics.

  • Look for labeling that says ‘non-toxic’

    Avoid buying toys that contain toxic materials; consider young children may be inclined to chew on their toys. Double-check to make sure the toy materials are clearly labeled “non-toxic.”

  • Avoid toys with small pieces for young children

    Choking hazards are a danger for young children who play with toys containing small pieces. Think big when buying toys. The pieces should be larger than your child’s (and/or pet’s) mouth.

  • Carefully read all labels and instructions

    Be sure to read all warning labels and instructions before you allow your child to play with a new toy. Also review instructions and warning labels with your child.

  • Know the purpose of digital devices

    Be mindful of the intent of the device you are gifting. While it’s convenient to give your child a device, such as a tablet, so you can focus on a task or run errands, new research illuminates that delayed learning of language skills can correlate to media use in young children.

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