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Keep Toy Safety in Mind at Christmas

Toy safety should be at the top of your list when you select Christmas presents for children.

Claudia McCormick, program director of the trauma center at the Duke University Medical Center, offers some advice on toy safety.

"Always read the warning label on the box before buying any toy. This will give you the information about what age child the toy is designed for and whether adult supervision is recommended. This system of warning labels is very effective," McCormick said in a prepared statement.

It's vital that you read and follow the age recommendations on toy packages, since a child might misuse a toy that's too simple or too advanced for him or her. Age recommendations related to a toy's safety are based on: possible choking hazards; the physical ability of a child to play with the toy; a child's ability to understand how to play with a toy; and a child's needs and interests at various points of their development.

McCormick said toddlers and preschoolers are at special risk for unsafe toys.

"In general, the bigger the pieces, the better it is. Many toy stores have charts to help you determine how big a toy part should be in order to prevent choking. It's also important to keep younger children away from their older siblings' toys. Toys that may be appropriate for older children, especially those with small parts or projectile parts, should be kept away from small children," McCormick advised.

If you're going to buy a bicycle for your child, make sure it's the proper size. A bike that's too big for a child will increase the risk of injury. And when you buy a bike for a child, make sure you include all the proper safety gear.

More information

The National Safe Kids Campaign has more about toy injuries.


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