Little girl playing with colorful blocks

Let’s keep those kiddos safe during Safe Toy and Gifts Month

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of gift giving during the holidays, but it’s also important to be aware of potential dangers, especially when giving toys as gifts to children. Since December is the biggest gift-giving month of the year, Safe Toys and Gifts Month was created to remind shoppers to be cautious when trying to find that perfect toy.

Children can incur many types of toy-related injuries including choking, exposure to lead, being hit by a projectile and falling off bikes, skateboards and scooters. When it comes to toys and gifts, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys.

Here are some tips to help guide you in buying safe gifts for your little ones:

  • Read the label to learn important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for.
  • Check all toys to make sure there are no sharp edges, and they should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking or being pulled apart easily.
  • Children younger than 3 should not have access to toys with small parts, which can cause choking. This includes marbles, small balls, button batteries and small items that may be pulled off of a toy.
  • Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old.
  • If giving riding toys such as scooters, skateboards and in-line skates, include helmets and safety gear, sized to fit, which should be worn properly at all times.
  • Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air, which can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
  • Keep kids safe from lead in toys by learning about symptoms of lead poisoning, what kinds of toys have been recalled for it and which toys are more likely to contain lead in the paint.
  • Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection. A label notated with “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Many counterfeit toys, or those from other countries, may not meet the strict safety requirements of the U.S.
  • Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.
  • Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning, such as crayons and markers. Make sure the label indicates the item is “nontoxic.”
    While December is the busiest gift-giving month, these tips can be used all year long as you purchase toys and other gifts. Protecting your loved ones is the most important gift you can give.

El Paso County Public Health wishes you a joyous and safe holiday season.