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Toy Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe During the 2023 Holiday Season

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'Tis the season for giving, but for too many children, what they receive during the holidays can be harmful. According to the most recent statistics, 198,000 children under the age of 14 suffered toy-related injuries in 2020, and 10 children died due to those injuries. The injuries and death were mostly caused by asphyxia, which is a severe lack of oxygen to the body. But children are at risk for injuries such as broken bones, concussions and more.

Parents need to be on guard for unsafe toys, especially around this time of year. Here are a few steps and recommendations parents should consider when purchasing toys to keep their child safe.

Pay attention to the size of the toys

Avoid toys with many parts that potentially become choking hazards, especially for young children. All it takes is a split second for a toy to become lodged in a child's throat.

Other toys to avoid:

  • Balloons or toys that have string, ribbon or straps longer than 7 inches. These can cause strangulation if children are left unsupervised.
  • Can the toy fit entirely into a toilet paper tube? If so, it is a potential choking hazard as it can get lost and stuck in your child's airway.
  • Magnetic toys and batteries should be kept away from children. The acid inside of a battery can be fatal. If your child swallows a battery, seek immediate emergency medical attention. Inspect the toy before giving it to your child

Read the recommended age label on packaging and always open and inspect the toy, especially if someone else gives your child a gift. Inspecting it is the best way to determine if the toy is safe for your child.

Be sure the toy is age appropriate

Parents with multiple children of all ages should make sure toys for older children are not easily accessible to the younger children. There can be large age gaps in families, so what is bought for an older child can be extremely harmful to a younger sibling. Keeping an eye on the younger children and making sure toys are separated is the best way to keep everyone safe during the holiday.

Add a helmet

It's not uncommon for kids to receive bicycles, rollerblades, scooters and other motorized toys for the holidays. But what is common are injuries related to accidents when using these toys. If you gift your child with a new skateboard or bike, get them a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, too! Helmets are especially helpful in preventing head-related injuries such as concussions, and padding your joints can help you avoid scrapes, bruises and broken bones when your child inevitably falls.

Supervise, supervise, supervise

The most important way you can keep your child safe is by supervising them. Whether they're building a new Lego set or learning how to ride a bike, it's crucial to have a trustworthy adult present and watching them play. When riding bikes or skating, avoid busy streets and bumpy roads.

The holidays are a wonderful time for family, friends and fun ... and we want to keep it that way. Make sure your child stays safe this season by monitoring them while they play and inspecting their toys before they dive in. 

If you have an emergency, please dial 911 or visit the nearest emergency room. Ochsner Children's pediatric ER in New Orleans is here for you 24/7. 

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