Toy Safety for the holiday season – Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

As we get ready for this holiday season, some people have already finished their holiday shopping, and others that are in the midst of the holiday preparation. No matter which category you fall into, there are some toy safety tips to keep in mind and you are shopping for the children and youth in your circle to ensure their safety after the wrapping paper, bows, and boxes have settled.
Children who are under the age of 3 like to put items (toys or otherwise) into their mouths. The general rule is that a toy should not be given to a child under this age if it will fit into the middle of a roll of toilet paper. Children in this age group like to pull, twist, and turn containers over.
The toys your purchase for this age group should be bright, well-made, with tightly secured parts and no sharp corners. Some examples include brightly-colored and multipatterned crib mobiles; activity boards; soft, washable, colorful stuffed animals or dolls with a smiling face; shape sorters; music instruments; push or pull toys.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 begin to play with more purpose, enjoy more physical play, more technological play and enjoy pretend play. For this age group be sure to avoid toys made of thin, breakable plastic as this can be a danger. Be sure to review all crayons and paints for information on toxicity before you purchase as it will help to ensure a child’s safety. Some examples include dolls and stuffed animals; ride-on toys or tricycles; puzzles; art supplies or craft kits, electronic toy phones; action figures; Barbies; and dress-up clothes.
Children who are between 6 and 10 like games and discovery. During this time, children are developing their interests, which may include science experiments or computers games. They also begin developing hobbies which could include activities that take longer amounts of time such as practicing a sport or building a Lego city. Games can be played for fun, for educational purposes, or for challenging or stimulating entertainment. Be sure that game pieces are of manageable size and they are kept out of reach of young children. Some examples include remote-controlled cars or drones; construction sets; science kits; slime kits; computer or video games; sports equipment; craft kits; board games; and model kits.
For all children, adults need to check toys for damage or breakage periodically. If a toy is damaged it should either be repaired or thrown out. If a bicycle is purchased, be sure to buy a helmet and ensure the child wears it. Also, teach children to put their toys away so no one trips over them and small children are kept safe. While ensuring safety is very important, also make sure that the toy is of interest to the child. Toys are made to be enjoyed, and if the child is not interested in them, they will not get played with!
Jessica Trussell is a Human Development Field Specialist with the university of Missouri Extension.