parents, we have to buy our children toys that are
safe for them. We want our children to have fun, but
we also need them to be safe."
Sherri Hannan, R.N., coordinator of the Fayette County
SAFE KIDS Coalition, led by the University of Kentucky
Ky. (Nov. 26, 2002) -- Making playtime a safe time starts at the toy
store. During the holiday season, make sure you think
safety first when shopping for Santa.
Children spend large parts of their day at play. This
time is important for their overall growth and development
so parents need to be aware of age-appropriate toys.
"As parents, we have to buy our children toys
that are safe for them," said Sherri Hannan,
R.N., coordinator of the Fayette County SAFE KIDS
Coalition, led by the University of Kentucky Children's
Hospital. "We want our children to have fun,
but we also need them to be safe."
Choking on small toy parts, rubber balloons and small
balls continues to be the leading cause of toy-related
deaths. From 1990 to 1999, at least 190 children in
the United States died from playing with toys, according
to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"With children under 3, avoid toys with small
parts that can be swallowed or inhaled," Hannan
said. "If a toy will fit in a toilet paper roll,
it's too small."
In addition to choking hazards, parents need to be
aware of riding toys for their older children. When
buying a bike, skateboard, inline skates or scooter,
buy the related safety equipment, too. Scooters should
not be used by children under 8, should not be ridden
at night, and should be ridden only on sidewalks with
"Be sure to enforce the helmet rule from the
first time they use their new toy so they will always
use their helmet," Hannan said.
Hannan also offers the following safety tips when
-- Follow the recommended age labeling as a guide
and look for safety messages on packages.
-- Consider that toys intended for older children
could be dangerous in the hands of a younger child,
and teach the older child to keep their toys out of
the reach of their younger siblings.
-- Check for objects that can be pulled or bitten
off stuffed animals. These objects also could be a
-- Don't buy your child an ATV or a motorized vehicle.
Find toys without batteries or motors that your child
can pedal or run by him or herself.
-- After buying safe toys, parents also need to supervise
their children while they play to avoid injury. This
can easily be done by joining play time.