5 Tips for Safe Holiday Toy Shopping

If you’re shopping for toys this holiday season, set your sights on safety. 

As you’re making your shopping list for the special youngsters in your life this season, here are a few tips that can help you check it twice for safety:

Tip One: Match the toy to the child’s age, not abilities. Even if a toddler seems “advanced” for his or her age, it’s still not appropriate to give that child a toy with small parts, due to the risk of choking.  Check the label or packaging to see if the toy lists a recommended age range.

Tip Two: Use your own good judgement. Even after you’ve read the label and the age recommendations,  it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the toy itself. Make sure there aren’t any small parts, sharp edges or points that could hurt someone. Does the toy seem sturdy? Well-built toys are more likely to withstand rough play and not fall apart, exposing small parts or other hazards. If there is something about the toy that gives you pause, even if the packaging says it’s safe for the age range of the child you’re thinking about buying it for, it’s probably best to keep looking.

Tip Three: Remember that what goes up must come down. If you choose to buy flying toys, avoid those with sharp points that could potentially be harmful. Look for protective tips, like covers on soft darts.

Tip Four: Don’t forget safety gear for “vehiclular” types of toys. Scooters, skates, bicycles, tricycles, and other toys meant for mobility usually require corresponding headgear, kneepads, or other safety devices.

Tip Five: Shop secondhand items with caution. Garage sales and online marketplaces can offer fabulous bargains for toy shoppers, but in some cases the items may have been subject to recall or post-retail sale modification that creates a safety issue. Resources like the Safe Kids Product Recall look-up can help you bargain hunt safely – and remember, if you’re in doubt about something, it’s best to keep looking.

Toy Safety Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Holiday Toy Safety Q&A,