Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list and checking it twice, warns California Poison Control

It is always important that parents and friends giving toys and gifts to children take those extra steps to ensure they are giving safe gifts this holiday season, says California Poison Control.

As a reminder to think about toy safety when selecting presents for kids, December has been designated Safe Toys and Gifts Month by Prevent Blindness America.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest “Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries” report highlighted that in 2022 there were approximately 209,500 toy-related injuries requiring emergency room visits (76 percent were for children 14 years or younger, 69 percent for children 12 years or younger, and 38 percent were for children 4 years or younger). These numbers are one reason why CPCS encourages everyone to observe Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.

“Toys that are too advanced for younger children may contain small parts, small batteries, or other hazards.” said Cyrus Rangan, MD, a pediatrician and medical toxicologist with CPCS. Selecting a safe toy starts with considering whom it is for, and then selecting something appropriate for their age, skill level, and ability.”

Rangan offers these helpful tips for choosing safe toys for all ages this holiday season 

  • Age-appropriate:Match toys to the child’s age.
  • Check the box:Read all labels, warnings, and instructions on the box. Look for proof that toys have passed a safety inspection, such as American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • Skip sharp edges:Avoid toys with dangerous edges, sharp or rigid points, spikes, or rods.
  • Inspect for breakability:Opt for toys that can withstand impact and not break into shards.
  • Think of gift pairings:Sports equipment gifts should be accompanied by protective gear.
  • Avoid choking hazards:Stay away from toys that use “button” batteries or magnets. They are a potential choking hazard and can also cause internal damage if swallowed.
  • Pass on ropes: Avoid giving toys with ropes or cords.
  • Avoid burns: Don’t give toys with heating elements.
  • Steer clear of mix-ups: Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.
  • Put them away: Avoid falls by storing toys properly after play.

About CPCS
Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebookand on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.