Toy Safety

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Buying toys for kids is one of the perks of being a mom, but there are some basics that are important to remember when choosing toys for younger children. Toy safety is an important issue that everyone should be aware of. Finding the best playthings for your child begins with knowing which toys are appropriate for your child based on their age.

Labels and Examinations

Labels are a good resource for choosing age-appropriate toys for kids. Most companies today put an age indicator right on the box or tag. If you find something that doesn't indicate which age it has been designed for, however, you will need to examine the toy carefully. Anything with a sharp edge, loose parts, magnets or unsecured batteries are particularly dangerous for young children. Skip those toys in favor of safer options. You should also check stuffed animals and other soft toys carefully to ensure eyes and other features are secured properly before giving it to your young child.

Gifts and Secondhand Items

When your child receives a gift, it is important to make sure it is safe. Gifts from grandparents and others that you know well can be planned in advance if you discuss the importance of toy safety with those closest to you. You may want to show grandparents and others what to look for when making purchases for your child, or provide other caregivers with a safety checklist to make purchasing toys simpler. You can also share the tips found at Safe Kids, online at www.safekids.org.

Secondhand items should always be inspected carefully to ensure the toy is safe. Toys can become damaged through normal play. Anything with small or loose parts, for instance, should be discarded. It is normal for other parents to want to pass their secondhand toys on to someone else after their child has outgrown or no longer plays with them, but if you are uncomfortable with this type of gift it is perfectly fine to say no. If you do accept secondhand toys, make sure they are safe by checking the official recall list. You can learn more about toy recalls at the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which can be found online at www.cpsc.gov. With some simple steps, you can prevent injuries and accidents caused by recalled or damaged products.