Holiday toy safety tips for kids

By: Danny Luna, injury prevention coordinator, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

As holiday wish lists are being fulfilled, it is important to ensure that the toy you are buying is right for your child’s age. There are a lot of hidden hazards when it comes to toys, which parents and other family members may not be aware of.

Things to Look For

  • Review the suggested age range on the toy’s box to ensure it is appropriate for your child.
  • Sharp points that may cut a child’s skin.
  • Propelled objects, such as arrows or darts, can cause injury.
  • Infant toys should be lead-free and large enough so that they cannot enter and become stuck in an infant’s throat.
  • Long cords or strings can get tangled and could become a choking hazard.
  • Loud toys could cause hearing damage if too loud.

Make Sure Toys are Sturdy and Strong

Check to see if the toy is sturdy and built of strong shatter-proof material. In case of any falls or accidents, the toy should not break into pieces with sharp edges, as this can cause bodily injury to the child.

After the Toy is Opened

Be sure to get rid of any plastic wrappings or bags, which can cause suffocation.

Read and Follow Warning Labels

When buying toys for your child, please keep the following in mind:

  • If exposed to fire, the toy could catch on fire quickly.
  • If there are large, moveable parts to a toy, they must be designed to prevent fingers from being jammed or a child from getting stuck.
  • If a child can enter a toy, for example a tent, it should be properly built so the child can breathe comfortably.
  • It’s the law that your child wears a helmet when playing with toys such as bicycles, scooters, skateboards and in-line skates.

It also is important to consider siblings. Even if the toy is safe for an older child, a toddler can swallow a part that’s been left lying about. Older siblings should be taught that potentially dangerous items be kept out of reach of their younger siblings.

When choosing a gift for a child, it’s important to know that it’s appropriate for the child’s age. If you are unsure if a toy is appropriate for your child, view the list created by our Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program. Wise gifting decisions will help assure that everyone in the family enjoys a happy and healthy holiday season.

Experts in Injury Prevention

The Injury Prevention Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach cares about keeping kids safe – not just during the holidays, but all year long. The program focuses on providing safety education to children and families in our community to prevent injury and hospitalization. The team offers bicycle safety classes, certified helmets, infant CPR classes, car seat classes, specialty loaner car seats, and education on pedestrian, bicycle and care seat safety. Learn more at

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