Guide: Tips for choosing safe toys this holiday season

If you are shopping for children’s toys this holiday season - it’s important to think about the safety aspect of a particular toy. 
According to the New York State Division of Consumer Protections, when shopping for toys for children, it’s important to keep these three factors in mind:
  • Age appropriateness
  • Proper protection gear
  • Materials used in toys
The age recommendation on a toy reflects the safety of a toy based on four categories. These include:
1. The physical ability of the child to play with the toy.
2. The mental ability of a child to know how to use the toy.
3. The play needs and interests present at various levels of a child's development.
4. The safety aspects of a particular toy.
MORE: Hot Toys
Families with children of various ages should remember that toys for older children could be dangerous to younger children. 
To prevent toy-related injuries or death, Stanford Medicine Children’s Health recommends the following safety steps:
To protect your child from injury, be sure to always supervise him or her when playing with toys.
Don't let your toddler (ages 3 and under) play with small toys and parts. Children in this age group still "mouth" objects. This can cause them to choke on small objects.
Make sure that the toy is sturdy and that no small parts (such as eyes, noses, buttons, or other parts) can break off the toy.
Remember to discard any plastic wrapping the toy came in. Plastic wrapping can suffocate a small child.
Don't allow your child to play with latex balloons.
An arrow, dart, or pellet can be a choking hazard when shot into a child's mouth. Eye injuries often result from toys that shoot plastic objects or other flying pieces.
Riding toys should be kept away from stairs, traffic, and bodies of water. Make sure the child fits properly on a riding toy. 
Infants should not be able to get to string longer than 7 inches especially from hanging objects in cribs and playpens. They can strangle an infant.
Strangling may happen if a string, rope, or cord from a toy gets tangled around a child's neck. Long objects can be deadly if your child falls or gets tangled up in them while in a crib.
Loose or long parts of clothing, such as dangling hood cords, could also strangle your child when tangled or hooked on playground equipment.
Playing with electric plug-in toys or hobby kits may result in serious injuries. Burns and shocks may result from frayed cords, misuse, or prolonged use.