TODDLER HOLIDAY HAZARD: Gifts
Every year, more than 116,000 kids under age 14 are treated in ERs for toy-related injuries (most cases involve children 0–4 years old). Even if your child is a prodigy, he should not be playing with toys designed for older children. There’s a reason for the rather insistent age-specific tags on toys: Playthings made for kids 5 years and older simply aren’t safe for toddlers. Manufacturers test their products and label them with an age designation to protect young children from choking, falling, getting scratched or worse. “You need to consider more than your child’s cognitive ability when buying presents,” says Hopkins. “Heed what the label says.”
PREVENT AN ACCIDENT:In addition to buying age-appropriate gifts (e.g., a 3-year-old should not have a dart gun, nor should any child under 6 be given Latex balloons), supervision is key. Toys must be used in a safe and proper environment. Here’s a rule of thumb to help prevent choking hazards: If a toy fits through a toilet paper roll, it’s inappropriate for 1- to 3-year-olds. Remember to think about what’s under the tree, too. Left to their own devises, inquiring toddlers will open gifts and are likely to find aftershave, perfume and bottles of booze as well as toys that can harm. Better to hide the presents until the family is ready to open them.
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