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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

While shopping for holiday gifts remember all toys are not for all kids

STILLWATER, Okla. – With the holidays fast approaching, Oklahomans soon will be scouring store aisles and internet websites for the perfect gifts for the youngest charges on their holiday shopping lists.

While making decisions about which surprises ultimately end up in neatly wrapped boxes and topped with colorful bows, shoppers should remember all toys are not for all children.

For instance, balloons, magnets and small balls and other toys with little parts can pose dangers to children, especially those 3 or younger. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, two of the leading causes of toy-related fatalities are choking or aspirating on toy parts.

“Deflated and broken balloons can be a choking hazard, especially for kids younger than 8,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer and housing specialist. “Play sets with magnets also can be a choking hazard. Kids, particularly those age 6 or younger, could be seriously hurt, or even die, if they swallow a magnet.”

When it comes to riding toys such as bikes, scooters, skateboards and in-line skates, do not forget to also pick up helmets and safety gear, which should be sized to fit and worn properly.

Beyond those basic safety measures, even with the excitement of the season, it is important to remember to immediately discard plastic wrappings and other packaging once toys are opened.

“The packaging and plastic film on toys and other products can be a choking hazard. Be sure to inspect toys first and remove any plastic or protective film before letting the kids enjoy the gift,” Peek said.

Finally, adults should oversee the changing and charging of any batteries since they pose both a choking and a poison hazard.

Meanwhile, chargers and adapters can represent burn hazards, especially for children.

“Carefully read the instructions and warnings that come with battery chargers,” Peek said. “Some don’t have mechanisms to prevent overcharging.”

Families can and should monitor toy recalls by visiting the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov. To search product safety reports or to report a dangerous product or product-related injury, parents can go to www.SaferProducts.gov or call the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054).


Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078