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Holiday Toy Safety

Posted on Dec 03, 2018

Joe Perno, M.D.

The holidays are here and Joe Perno, M.D., from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, gives parents some good advice about buying toys for children.

False: Good parents should buy whatever toys the children want.

Parents must consider not only the child’s wishes and interests but the safety of the toy. It is very important to pay attention to the recommended ages on the outside of the box. Many times toys designed for older children have multiple small pieces that pose a choking hazard for young children.  Children under the age of 3 are particularly at risk as they still will put things in their mouths. Many times we run into problems when there are older children in the house and the younger child gets into the older children’s toys. Lastly, parents should keep an eye out for product safety recalls and consider throwing out broken toys.

True: Parents should use extra caution with toys that contain button batteries and magnets.

Both button batteries and magnets are dangerous if swallowed. Not only are they the perfect size for kids to swallow but once swallowed they can be extremely dangerous. For example, button batteries if stuck in the esophagus, can leak acid and quickly eat through the esophagus. Magnets are especially dangerous when two magnets are swallowed. If they become separated, they can find each other and become stuck together across the wall of the intestine. This can cause a hole in the intestine that can be life-threatening.

False: Foam toys are great gifts because they are unlikely to cause injury.

We see many injuries every year from foam projectiles. Although they are soft to the touch they can cause significant damage to the eye. It is important if the children are using any sort of gun that shoots that they wear protective eye wear. Many of the foam guns will actually come with protective glasses; the key is getting the children to wear them.

True: Bicycles, roller blades and scooters make great holiday presents.

These are great gifts as they encourage children to get outside and be physically active. The most important thing about these gifts is not to forget about the helmet. Helmets are lifesaving and should be part of any gift that contains wheels. If it has wheels, you should be wearing a helmet. Safety pads should also be considered; however, the most important is the helmet. We can easily fix broken bones, but it is difficult to fix an injured brain.

This information was shared on WTVT-TV’s Doc on Call segment, which is aimed at helping parents learn more about children’s health issues. The segment airs each Monday morning on Good Day Tampa Bay.

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