FRIDAY, Nov. 30, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Toy shopping season is here and experts urge parents and others to make sure any gifts they buy for children are safe and age-appropriate.
Here are some gift-giving tips from doctors at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Read all warning labels carefully and consider a child's age, interests and skill levels when buying toys.
- Choose toys with sturdy construction and avoid those with sharp edges and points.
- Choking is one of the leading causes of toy-related deaths, and most of these choking deaths are due to tiny balls, latex balloons and small magnets. Any toy that will be accessible by children under age 3 should not have any parts that are smaller than 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long, because these can lodge in a child's mouth or throat.
- Avoid toy jewelry that may contain lead or cadmium, both of which can be harmful to children.
- Don't give toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet to children younger than 10. Give them battery-operated toys instead. Remember, though, that button batteries found in toys can become lodged in the throat and cause serious injury or death.
- Don't buy pull toys with strings longer than 12 inches. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
- Store toys in designated areas, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older children's toys away from younger children.
- If people offer you used toys that don't have warning labels, inspect them carefully and use your best judgment about whether to accept them.
- Some toys contain powerful magnets. If a child swallows more than one of these magnets, they can attract to one another and result in serious injury or death. If your child ingests one more magnets, seek immediate medical attention.
The Nemours Foundation has more about choosing safe toys.