December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month

As we all know the holiday season is just around the corner and for some of us this means shopping for the kids, we all like to see the kids happy at this time of year.

The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is recommending the following safety tips while we shop for the kids.

Under 3 years old

  • Children under 3 tend to put everything in their mouths. Avoid buying toys intended for older children that may have small parts that pose a choking danger.
  • Never let children of any age play with deflated or broken balloons because of the choking danger.
  • Avoid marbles, balls and games with balls that have a diameter of 1.75 inches or less. These products also pose a choking hazard to young children.
  • Children at this age pull, prod and twist toys. Look for toys that are well-made with tightly secured eyes, noses and other parts.
  • Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Ages 3 to 5

  • Avoid toys that are constructed with thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.
  • Look for household art materials, including crayons and paint sets, marked with the designation "ASTM D-4236." This means the product has been reviewed for chronic health hazards and, if necessary, the product has been labeled with cautionary information.
  • Teach older children to keep their toys away from their younger brothers and sisters.

Ages 6-12

  • For all children, adults should check toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. Damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away.
  • If buying a toy gun, be sure the barrel, or the entire gun, is brightly colored so that it's not mistaken for a real gun.
  • If you buy a bicycle for any age child, buy a helmet, too, and make sure the child wears it. • Teach all children to put toys away when they're finished playing so they don't trip over them or fall on them.

It is also important to read all labels carefully. The CPSC requires toy manufacturers to meet stringent safety standards and to label certain toys that could be a hazard for younger children.

Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide. Labels on toys that state "not recommended for children under 3 … contains small parts," are labeled that way because they may pose a choking hazard to children under 3. Toys should be developmentally appropriate to suit the skills, abilities and interests of the child.

By: Irma Miller