New York Pediatric Inpatient Medical Specialist, Maja Djordjevic, MD and Director of Pediatrics at Nyack Hospital
shares tips on how to shop for safe toys this holiday

Nyack, N.Y. December 5, 2013 – As you shop for toy’s, during the holidays or at any time of year, keep safety in mind. Choking is a particular hazard for younger children, but there are a number of other factors to consider when purchasing gifts for children of all ages.

Tips for buying toys for younger children include:

  • Avoid toys that are smaller than 1 ¼ inches in diameter and 2 ¼ inches in length, so they can’t be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe. Also steer clear of anything with marbles, coins, and balls that are 1 ¾ inches or less in diameter.
  • Babies and toddlers also should not be given toys with sharp ends or small parts such as eyes, buttons or wheels that can be pulled loose, strings longer than 7 inches, or parts that can pinch fingers.                                              
  • Fabrics toys should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Stuffed toys should be washable.
  • Painted toys should contain only lead-free paint.
  • Art materials should be labeled nontoxic.
  • Battery-operated toys should have a case for the batteries that closes with screws, so children cannot open them.

For older children who have bikes, scooters or skateboards on their wish lists, make sure those presents come with helmets that meet current safety standards (check for CPSC or Snell certification on the label).

Other tips for toys for older children:

  • When shopping for toy darts or arrows, look for products with soft tips or suction cups at the ends instead of hard points.
  • For basketball sets, look for nets that are well made and firmly attached to the rim, so they won’t pose a danger of strangulation.
  • Electric toys should have a UL label, meaning they meet safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories.

Buying safe toys is just the first step. Once the gifts are unwrapped, supervise children’s play to ensure they are using the toys correctly. Taking these steps will make for a merry—and safe—holiday.
Nyack Hospital is a 375-bed community acute care medical and surgical hospital located in Rockland County, NY. Founded in 1895, it is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has partnered with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine providing clinical rotations to third-year medical students. Its mission is to provide competent, innovative and accessible emergency and acute care services to the residents of Rockland County and surrounding areas.