DHEC offering Toy Safety Tips

As you shop for that special toy to give children this year for Christmas, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reminds parents about toy safety. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, toy-related injuries resulted in more than 174,000 visits to the emergency room for children under the age of 15 in 2016. DHEC wants parents to choose holiday toys with care. Eboni Whitehurst with the Division of Injury and Violence Prevention offers these toy safety tips to keep your children safe this holiday season. “Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest, and skill level. Also, be aware of other safety labels such as “flame retardant or flame resistant” or “washable or hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys. Discard the plastic wrappings from toys immediately. They become deadly playthings to small children. For children 1-and-under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children this age learn through sight, touch, sound, and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them. Don’t give young children any toys with small parts, such as removable eyes, noses, etc. These are choking hazards. Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass. These toys should not be given to children under 8 years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut, or shock if exposed. Don’t hang toys with strings, cords, or ribbons of any kind in cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled, which can cause injury or death. Teach older children to keep toys that might have removable small parts, sharp points or toys that run on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them. Keep toys and play equipment in good condition. Assure that protective gear fits appropriately, and discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries. Supervision is essential. Provide safe, hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors. Toys get used and abused by children – regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability. Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls.” For more toy safety tips, visit www.scdhec.gov/ToySafety.