During the Christmas season children will receive a variety of toys - but some of them come with potential safety risks if it is not age-appropriate or if the warning labels are ignored. Dr. Emma Wright, Pediatrician with Hannibal Regional Medical Group, has a few tips to help make this Christmas a safe one.
Buy age-appropriate toys.
When choosing toys as gifts, age matters. Small items are not the safest choice for young children. For children under age three, select toys that are at least 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long, so they will not lodge in a child’s mouth or throat. “It is also important to watch for pull toys with longer strings as they could be a potential strangulation hazard for babies,” notes Dr. Wright. “If you are purchasing gifts for an older child be sure to keep in mind younger siblings as well. If you purchase a toy for an older child that has several small parts try to keep it separate from the younger siblings toys.”
Be cautious about toys containing button batteries or magnets.
Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death – after swallowing button batteries or magnets. “Button batteries or small magnets can be in a variety of items - not just toys,” notes Dr. Wright. “If children swallow batteries or magnets it could lead to serious medical problems and you should call your healthcare provider immediately.” In addition to toys, button batteries may be in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and other small electronics. Small, powerful magnets may be part of building toy sets.
Avoid choking hazards.
“Test your child’s toy to see if there are any small parts that can break off and check to see if the toy you choose has small parts - if they can fit inside a paper towel roll they are potential choking hazards,” notes Dr. Wright. Don’t forget to discard any plastic wrapping or other toy packaging once the gifts are opened. When storing toys, remember to store toys for older kids separately from toys for younger kids.
To contact the pediatrics office at Hannibal Regional Medical Group call (573) 629-3500.