Holiday Toy Safety – To Your Health Article by Lori Stambaugh, RN BSN, Community Health Educator

The holiday season is in full swing and shopping is entering its busiest season. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all looking for that perfect gift for the little ones on their list. While picking out the perfect gift is important, it is also important to pick out age-appropriate gifts for the children on your list.

Toy-related injuries send many children to the emergency room each year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2019 an estimated 224,200 toy-related injuries were treated in United States emergency departments. Of those injuries, approximately 73% were in children under the age of 14. The majority of the injuries were lacerations, contusions, or abrasions, mainly to the head and face. However, there were some injuries that led to death.

Riding toys, such as as tricycles and non-powered scooters are the leading cause of toy-related injuries. Choking, drowning, and suffocation are a huge cause of accidents for younger children. In order to prevent these injuries, be sure to check manufacturer labels when buying toys. Consider the child’s age and pay attention to the recommended age on the toy.

Do not buy small toys or toys with small parts for children under three years old. A good rule of thumb is if the toy can fit through a toilet paper tube, don’t buy it. Be careful with balloons (avoid latex) and small balls. These are popular choking hazards for little ones.  Be sure to discard any plastic wrapping the toys come in as these can cause suffocation. Also avoid toys with long cords that can present a strangulation hazard.

Always monitor a child with magnetic toys. If the magnets are swallowed, they can attract to each other in the stomach and cause injury to the stomach and intestines. Also keep lithium batteries such as watch or button batteries away from children. The battery acid can cause serious injuries.

If you child is getting a riding toy such as a bike, scooter or tricycle be sure to buy a helmet and elbow and knee pads to go with it and make sure they wear them!  Educating your kids how to be safe is a huge factor.

When you are opening your toys at home, be sure to inspect them for any broken or missing parts before you allow your child to play with them. It is also a good idea to visit to make sure a toy hasn’t been recalled due to safety reasons. Safe Kids Coalition is also a great resource to check for toy safety standards. You can sign up on the Safe Kids website to receive email alerts twice a month with toy recalls. Sign up at

Henry County Medical Center hopes that you have a safe and happy holiday season. If there’s anything we can help you with, please call our Findline at 731-644-3463.