Healthier Me: Keeping Toy Safety in Mind this Holiday Season

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Play is an important part of a child's day, but with so many choices of toys on the market, it's not always easy to be sure you're getting safe products.

Valley News Team's, Danielle Barber, explains how to know what to buy and what to avoid if you're giving gifts to children this holiday season.

"Toys can be a lot of fun if they're correct for the right age of the child," said Sanford Children's Safety Technician, Jody Jordet. "But, they can also hurt younger children or children that aren't capable of playing with them."

More than 120,000 kids are seriously hurt from playing with toys each year, which is why Jordet said it's important to pay attention to the age guidelines.

"If they say three and above, those are not only things that may have smaller parts that a younger child could choke on, but they're also things that a younger child won't know what to do with so they'd be tempted to misuse that item," said Jordet.

For the younger kids, it's not recommended to buy toys with small parts like Legos or plastic cars.

"Children under three are most prone to be putting those things in their mouth, mouthing them," Jordet said. "They learn by taste, touch, and feel, all their senses whereas older kids mostly learn by sight and playing with items."

The packaging toys come in can also be dangerous, no matter how old the child is.

"This board book here has cellophane wrapping all around it that can easily choke or suffocate a child of any age," said Jordet. "So, when you give them the toy, let them open it, remove the packaging right away and throw it away with the wrapping paper."

Though some toys may seem harmless, there are hidden dangers to look out for like button batteries, long pieces of string and loose parts.

"Read the warning labels that are on it," encouraged Jordet. "If there's instructions on how to play with the toy, keep those in mind when you're buying the toy, as well, make sure they're going to appeal to the child and that they won't hurt a younger sibling."

If you're buying toys online this season, Jordet recommends reading the reviews and checking the age guidelines.