Christmas is here, and for many kids that means one thing — toys.
For parents, safety should be their top concern. In 2010, an estimated 181,500 toy- related injuries in children ages 14 and younger were treated in hospital emergency rooms. With the federal toy safety standards passed by Congress in 2008, the improved standards allow parents to be more confident than ever. However, it doesn't mean we should throw caution to the wind.
Here are tips for making sure children's toys are safe:
■ Toys intended for older children should be stored separately from those for younger children.
■ Children can choke on small toys and toy parts. Keep toys with small parts away from children younger than 3, and check toys regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards.
■ Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys and any toy that has small parts, magnets, electrical or battery power, cords and strings, wheels or any other potential hazard.
Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach while paying undivided attention.
■ Avoid letting children play with electronic devices that are intended for adults such as key fobs, mini remote controls, watches, flameless candles, singing greeting cards, etc. Many of these items contain coin-size button batteries, which can be deadly if ingested.
■ Know the risks associated with children swallowing coin-size button batteries and know which devices in your home contain them. Go to the emergency room immediately if you suspect a child has swallowed a battery. For additional information, go to Thebatterycontrolled.com.
■ To stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace, parents may go to Recalls.gov and sign up for email alerts on recalled children's products.
■ If you bought secondhand toys or received them from friends or relatives, go to CPSC.gov and make sure they haven't been recalled for safety reasons.
■ Used toys should be in good condition with all original parts and packaging, if possible.
■ If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.