Toy safety during the holidays

'Tis the season for safety

The holidays are a time for family and fun -- and are often when many new toys and decorations come into the home. Some of these could contain hidden health and safety hazards if not used properly.

Toys and gifts

  • Choose only those items that are suitable for your child's age group.
  • Read and follow all instructions for any new toy.
  • Remember that toys with small parts are a choking hazard for children under three years.
  • Make sure batteries not accessible to children and are properly installed by an adult .
  • Dispose of packing materials (such as Styrofoam pellets and plastic bags) immediately -- children could choke or suffocate on these items.

Holiday decorations

  • If you have a Christmas tree, keep it secured in a sturdy stand so that it can't be knocked over easily.
  • Place the tree away from high-traffic areas, doorways, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended and always keep candles out of the reach of children and away from anything that can catch on fire.
  • When putting lights on a tree, make sure there are no exposed wires and that no bulbs are broken or cracked.
  • Keep 'bubble lights' away from children -- they contain a hazardous chemical that may cause irritation or burns if the bulb breaks.
  • Choose tinsel, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded metals. Don't let children put decorations in their mouths, as some may be harmful to their health.
  • Avoid decorations that are sharp, breakable or have small removable parts.
  • Keep trimmings and candles that look or smell like food away from children -- they might try to eat them.
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