Play it Safe for the Holidays
Safe Kids Larimer County recommends the following precautionary tips when selecting gifts this holiday season:
Select Safe Toys
When selecting a toy for your child, avoid the following:
- Toys with small removable parts. The small parts are hazardous and can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3.
- Toys with sharp points or edges. Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.
- Toys that produce loud noises. Toy guns and high-volume portable cassette recorders can permanently impair a child's hearing.
- Propelled toy darts and other projectiles. Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.
- Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than seven inches. Long strings and cords could wrap around a child's neck and unintentionally strangle him or her.
- Electrical toys. Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Avoid toys with a heating element-batteries, electrical plugs-for children under age 8.
- Toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child's brain, kidneys and nervous system.
- Toy cap guns. Paper roll, strip or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.
Follow Age Recommendations When Selecting Toys
Age recommendations for toys not only take into account a child's cognitive abilities, but they also consider the overall safety of a toy.
- Infants under age 1 - The most suitable toys for the first year include activity quilts, stuffed animals without button noses and eyes, bath toys, soft dolls, baby swings, cloth books and squeaky toys.
- Children ages 1 to 3 - The best toys for this age group are books, blocks, fit-together toys, balls, push-and-pull toys, pounding toys and shape toys.
- Children ages 3 to 5 - Toys that are most suitable for this age group include approved nontoxic art supplies, books, videos, musical instruments and outdoor toys such as a baseball tee, slide or swing.
- Children ages 5 to 9 - Recommended toys include craft materials, jump ropes, puppets, books, electric trains (after age 8) and sports equipment. Remember, children ages 8 and up can begin to use electrical and battery-operated toys. Check tape recorders and battery-operated toys regularly for loose or exposed wires. Don't allow children to change batteries.
Children ages 9 to 14 - For these children, appropriate gifts include computers, microscopes, table and board games, and outdoor and team sports equipment. Ensure that older children's toys are kept out of reach of younger children for whom they may present a danger.
Include the Proper Protective Gear
Safe Kids Larimer County recommends the following tips when buying bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skates, skateboards or sleds this holiday season:
- Include a helmet as part of the gift. A helmet is a necessity, not an accessory.
- Buy retro reflective clothing, stickers or bike reflectors for an older child who will be riding or skating at dawn or dusk. Reflectors on the pedals and wheels also increase a child's visibility.
- Give a horn or bell as a stocking stuffer. A horn or bell is essential for bicyclists to warn motorists and pedestrians of their presence.
- In addition to a helmet, include elbow pads, wrist guards and knee pads when giving in-line skates, scooters, roller-skates or skateboards as gifts.
- Give in-line skating lessons from a professional instructor or a community recreation center. A class will provide instruction on how to skate properly and on proper skating etiquette.
- Buy a sled that is constructed sturdily and safely. Avoid equipment with sharp and jagged edges.
For more information, please contact the Safe Kids office at 970.495.7504 or www.safekidslcc.org.