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Safe Toy Make For A Merry Christmas

By Ron King

Do you have a toddler on your gift list? If so, remember that small children and infants automatically put items in their mouths.

Inspect For Safety

Safety is the first thing you should check. Toys with small parts are always suspect. Parts small enough to fit into a tot's mouth can be a choking hazard.

Plush toys are ideal for small children, but check the construction. If the eyes, nose, or other small features are not tightly secured, these items can come off when a child inevitably chews on it.

Any toy with a sharp edge is a potential safety hazard. A child walking or running with such a toy can fall and be injured by it. Again, tots like to put things in their mouths, so sharp edges could cut their lips, gums or tongues.

Any Electric Or Heating Elements?

Only children 8 years of age or over should receive electric toys with heating elements. Don't be tempted to buy these for a younger child just because they would be fun to play with.

Find Out What's Been Recalled

Before setting out on a toy shopping trip, find out which have been recalled. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can tell you at www.cpsc.gov or call toll-free (800) 638-2772. You might be surprised to find that some of the leading toy makers have had toys recalled. Some toys on the recall list include:

* Woody Dolls (distributed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts) -- the doll's buttons can detach and pose a choking hazard for young children.

* Little People Animal Sounds Farm (by Fisher-Price) -- the screws on stall doors can come off, posing a choking or aspiration hazard. One child aspirated a screw into his lungs, requiring emergency surgery.

* Drumsticks sold with toy drum sets (by Battat Incorporated) -- the end piece of the drumstick handle can break off, and the screw at the end of the drumstick can detach. Both pose a choking hazard.

Remove Dangerous Packaging Immediately

Watch for twist-ties that keep toys secure in their packages. They keep the toy looking good on the shelf, but become a hazard when the toy is removed from the package. Also check older siblings' toys for them. They need to be properly discarded to avoid any danger to a younger child. On Christmas morning, you can eliminate a suffocation hazard to your tot by immediately throwing away all plastic wrappings from the toys.

Do Your Research

Popular toys that children are clamoring for are hard to resist. Just do your research first. Keep the holidays happy and safe for your children.



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