The holidays are upon us, and December is National Safe Toys and Gifts month for a good reason. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200,000 children visit the emergency room with toy-related injuries every year. Many of these injuries are due to choking and falls and can be prevented.  Use these tips to gift toys for the appropriate age and reduce the risk of injury to your loved ones.

Ages 0 -3

Choking is a prominent holiday hazard for infants. Over half of choking related emergency room visits each year are children age three and under. When purchasing a gift for an infant or toddler, always check the age-appropriate range provided by the manufacturer. Visually look at pieces to ensure they are safe for mouthing, generally larger than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long. Avoid toys with magnets or button batteries that could be swallowed. Sometimes toy packaging is just as appealing as the toy itself. When a toy is opened, make sure all packaging is thrown away immediately to avoid ingestion. Be sure to store toys for the older kids in a separate secure area. Beyond the presents and packaging, keep an eye on low lying decorations that could pose a hazard when traveling to destinations outside of your home because curious toddlers love to explore new places.

Ages 4 – 8

The cold weather in the Midwest doesn’t stop Santa from delivering scooters and hoverboards under the tree. Riding toys produce the most head injuries for children ages four to eight. Your child must have properly fitting safety equipment. Helmets should be snug with one to two fingers of space between the helmet and their eyebrows and not shift when your child tilts their head forward or backward. Straps should be tight and form a “Y” around the ears. It’s best to purchase a helmet with the child present to ensure a proper fit. Avoid riding indoors around obstacles or outdoors in icy conditions. Hoverboards have been a popular gift over past years, but they can pose a fire and injury risk. If you gift a hoverboard, make sure to check the recall list and never let children plug them in for charging. The same rule goes for all electronic devices. Each year, 2,400 children receive injuries from electrical outlets. A power strip can be used to prevent children from switching plugs.

Ages 9 – 12

It is important to teach the older kids to pick up and play responsibly with their toys. Electronic toys should be kept up out of reach and cords should be inaccessible to small children when plugged in. Toy guns should have the barrels marked with spray paint to distinguish them from real guns. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, toys like guns, horns, and sirens can emit over 120 decibels which can permanently damage hearing so protective gear is necessary.

Last year, over two million toys were recalled in the United States. It’s important to stay informed about recalls. Sign up at www.recalls.gov for up to date recall information.Please share this information with your loved ones and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Since 1883, the attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow have represented families, individuals and businesses across Wisconsin and Minnesota in areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law and divorce, civil litigation, estate planning and trusts, workers compensation and more. We are recognized as one of western Wisconsin’s most skilled and successful personal injury law firms and have built our reputation on what we achieve for our clients. We are committed to being your advocate, regardless of your circumstances.

DISCLAIMER: The Doar, Drill, and Skow blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported may come from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these types of situations choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.