Each year nearly 120,000 children under age 14 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. During the holiday shopping season, Safe Kids Greater Augusta would like to remind parents to only purchase safe, age-appropriate toys.

Here are some ideas.

  • Newborn to age 1: Babies explore with their eyes, hands, and mouth. Crib gyms, floor activity centers, activity quilts, squeaky toys, and soft dolls or stuffed animals are good choices.
  • Ages 1 to 3: These little ones like to climb, jump, walk, throw, and play rough and tumble games. Try soft blocks, large blocks, push and pull toys, books, and pounding and shaping toys.
  • Ages 3 to 5: Toddlers and preschoolers are learning to use their imagination and enjoy toys that are close companions. Look for nontoxic art supplies, pretend toys (e.g. play money, telephone), teddy bears or dolls, and outdoor toys (e.g. tricycle and a helmet).
  • Ages 5 to 9: Children in this age group like to be challenged with complex games that teach specific skills and concepts. Arts and crafts kits, puppets, jump ropes, action figures, and miniature dolls are appropriate gifts.
  • Ages 9 to 14: Older children begin to develop lifelong skills and hobbies and enjoy team and individual sports. Handheld electronic games, board games, sports equipment (with protective gear), model kits, and musical instruments are some popular items.

Here are a few additional tips to promote toy safety for all ages:

  1. Check warning labels on toys to prevent unintentional injury or choking.
  2. Inspect older toys for damage such as sharp edges or loose parts.
  3. Store toys of older and younger children separately.
  4. Avoid toys that contain lead paint. Even at low levels, lead exposure can impair cognitive function and I.Q. Likewise, discard toys containing lead that are already in the home.
  5. Avoid toys with small parts or edges, toys that produce loud noises and projectiles (such as darts). Small parts can be choking hazards, and the projectiles could cause eye injuries.
  6. Refrain from buying toys with strings, straps and cords longer than seven inches as they are a strangulation hazard.
  7. Cap guns should not be given to children younger than 8 years as they can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.

Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children's Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.