Dont unwrap a holiday hazard

Published 2:35 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

Emergency rooms see approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries each year. But the good news is tragedies from toys are most often injuries and not deaths. On average, only 15 children younger than 14 die from toy-related injuries each year according to Safe Kids USA. Choking on small parts is the most frequent cause of toy-related death.

This holiday season, parents and caregivers should keep toy safety at the top of their shopping list, said Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids N.C. State Chair, Wayne Goodwin. Remind grandparents and other gift-givers that the right toy must be age-appropriate.

Toy Safety Tips:

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Stay up-to-date on toy recalls; sign up for e-mail alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission at

If you buy or receive second-hand toys, check the CPSCs Web site to see if they are recalled.

Buy only age-appropriate toys. Toys with small parts (should be clearly marked) are not safe for children under 3.

Dont allow children under 3to play with toys that belong to an older sibling and have small parts.

If you arent sure whether a small part is a choking hazard, place the part into an empty toilet paper roll. If it fits, the toy is not safe for small children.

Always remove and discard the packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child.

Check old and new toys regularly for damage such as sharp edges or small broken parts. Make any repairs or throw away the damaged toy.

Always supervise children at play.

Remember the number of toys recalled is a fraction of the 3 billion toys sold in the United States every year. Most toys on the market are considered safe and with some supervision and attention to age restrictions, everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season.

Safe Kids N.C. reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 58 counties served by 36 coalitions across the state. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than 6 million people have access to Safe Kids N.C. programming. For more information, visit

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