If you did not know it, the Christmas season is upon us. Although it is only September, a walk around some local stores will fill your views with the likeness of the jolly fat man. It seems like Christmas starts earlier and earlier every year. One good thing about this however, is that we can really take our time in selecting those special gifts for our little ones. To this end, I would like discuss some tips I have found for selecting safe toys for our children.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, choking is the most common toy related cause of death among children. From the years 2005 to 2007, thirty-three (33) children choked to death on toys, balloons, or toy parts. Obviously, the tip to be heeded here is to avoid toys that a young child can fit in their mouth.
Other toy related dangers include noise, magnetic parts, and lead and toxic chemicals. Are you ever in another room and find yourself annoyed by that constant noise from a child’s toy? If you are, you may want to think about it another context other than your annoyance. Children’s ears are sensitive, and if you can hear a toy from another room, chances are it is too loud for your child. Magnetic parts in some newer toys are very strong, and if swallowed (some resemble shiny candy) by children can cause serious intestinal complications. Perhaps most dangerous however, are the chemicals found in some children’s cosmetic sets.  Some sets contain chemicals known to cause developmental hazards. Lead in the paint on children’s toys is also a concern. When exposed to lead, children can suffer from lower IQs, developmental delays, or death.
These are just some general tips to think about when you begin picking up presents for your kids. I will follow this entry with a discussion of some of the more popular, yet dangerous toys you are likely to encounter. Until then, keep these considerations in mind, and tell Santa to do the same.
 “Tips for Toy Safety,” available at https://www.uspirg.org/uploads/He/tx/HetxSglnkweWIYEY35-w0A/tips-for-toy-safety-2008.pdf, (accessed September 14, 2009).