5 Tips for Buying Safe Toys

Kids love toys—keep these safety tips in mind before your next trip down the toy aisle.

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Kids love playing with toys—they can be fun, educational, and entertaining. But while kids want fun stuff, they need safe playthings, too. Thousands of toy-related injuries happen every year. So keep these safety tips in mind on your next trip down the toy aisle:

Read labels carefully.

Labels on toy packages can help you decide if the toy is safe for a child's age and matches his or her interests and abilities. Make sure the label says the toy is nontoxic—meaning it doesn't contain materials that could be harmful.

Look for potential hazards.

For instance, loud toys can harm a child's hearing. Strings or ribbons on stuffed animals can cause strangulation—remove them if the gift is for a young child. And small game pieces are OK for older kids, but they may choke a younger child if swallowed.

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Think twice about flying toys.

Toys that shoot things into the air can be a blast, but some parts may injure eyes or be choking hazards.

For young kids, avoid toys that need to be plugged in.

Children younger than age ten are safer with battery-powered toys. Just remember to keep any button-sized batteries—which might be swallowed—away from younger siblings.

Hand them a helmet too.

Buying a riding toy? Don't forget to include this safety gear for your skateboarding teen or tricycling tyke.

References: American Academy of Pediatrics; Safe Kids Worldwide

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