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Toy Safety
December 20, 2013

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 192,000 toy-related trips to the emergency room in 2012. If you have toys on your shopping list this holiday season, here are some things to keep in mind.

"Look for broken toys, toys that have jagged edges because those are a safety hazard," Mary Wallace, certified child life specialist with the Hoops Family Children's Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, said,

Make sure the toys you're handing out are age-appropriate. Most toys have a recommendation right on the packaging.

"That is monitored according to the size of the toy and the pieces that come off for choking hazard for younger kids," Wallace said.

If the toy or any piece from it can fit through a cardboard paper towel tube, it's small enough to cause choking. Also, pay attention to items with ribbons or straps, which can be strangling hazards for kids.

Keep toys designed for older kids away from younger kids.

Toys like tablets are discouraged for kids younger than two, since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time during that stage. They recommend less than two hours a day for kids older than two. That includes time spent watching television, playing on a tablet, phone, or computer.

"It inhibits a lot of their development. It's important for kids at that age to have that one on one interaction with the parent," Wallace said.

Experts say too much exposure at prime developmental stages can cause delays with problem-solving skills, depth perception, and gross-motor skills, so encourage social interaction.

"Instead of the child throwing a ball on an iPad, you'd actually be reaching to grab the ball," Wallace said.

Wallace said you don't have to shell out a lot of money to get nice toys. She said toys like yo-yos, slinkies, and jacks are classics for a reason.

Finally, clean toys before the first use, especially if the child could put it in its mouth, and sanitize frequently. Wallace said you can wash toys like Legos with dish soap or in the dishwasher in a mesh bag, but watch for holes in toys where water won't drain properly. That could cause mold inside.

You can find some toy safety tips for the holidays through the American Academy of Pediatrics here:

And the Hoops Family Children's Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital here:

Copyright ©2013 WCHS-TV Eyewitness News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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