Consider safety when selecting infant and toddler holiday toys.

The best holiday toys for infants and toddlers are safe ones.

NOTE:  The advice in this article is for infomation only and not intended to be all inclusive.

As the winter holidays approach, or at any time a gift is chosen for a baby, the safety issues involving the holiday toys must be carefully considered.  This is an very important consideration. It is estimated that there are about 150,000 annual emergency room visits in the US for toy related injuries.  Many of these visits revolve around injuries to babies or toddlers.

In order to reduce the risk of a gift given to a baby later producing harm several things should be considered:

The first thing to consider is to read the manufacturer's recommendations and the potential hazards of a given item.  In addition, the maturity of the child should be considered in relation to any age recommendations.  For example, if a manufacturer warns about choking hazards and advises that a toy is not a good choice for a child under three, then think about the dangers involved.  For example, if the child still puts objects into his or her mouth, even if past age 3 years, a toy that has a choking hazard is not a good choice for that child.  Manufacturers' recommendation are just that, advice.  But it is up to the parents and care givers to make the final judgment.

Preventing choking risks is one of the more important considerations for babies and toddlers, especially when selecting safe holiday toys for a baby or toddler.  One of the most important considerations to avoid this risk is to avoid toys that have small parts.  Good examples of this are stuffed animals and dolls that have glued on features such as noses and eyes.  Stitched and painted eyes and noses are much safer.  Also it is wise to avoid toys with clothes, especially those with buttons or snaps, or other accessories.  If the toy has those things remove them before the baby plays with them.  And in addition the stuffing in soft toys can be a hazard for a baby.  Things like beans and other small items can be choking risks, also.   Always check that all seams are solidly closed.

Check everything for sharp edges Toys that have seams could have a surprise extra bit of material and it could be small but sharp enough to scratch the little one   Also a dab of plastic or other material could come loose.  So all toys, even soft material ones, should be carefully checked for an unexpected sharp spots.

Avoid any breakable toy or toy part that can shatter.  Glass and glass like products are high on the list of items to avoid for holiday toys for small children.  Also it if often wise to avoid giving breakable toys to older children, when there is a toddler in the house.

Another consideration is to avoid toys that have a heating element.   Again it is probably not something that would be given to t toddler, but an older child could have one and the toddler coulddecide to check it out.  A good example of such a toy is the baking ovens that are sometimes given to girls.  If an older child has one, it needs to be carefully stored and used in such a way that a baby is not endangered.

Avoid all items that can get tangled around a body part such as the neck or limbsThings that could be twisted around a body part, like a ribbon, rope, cord or similar item are not safe for babies or toddlers.  These items should be put away until the child is old enough to use them safely or that part must be removed.

Since small children put everything into their mouth, holiday toys or other items with toxic surfaces such as lead paint are a hazard to this age group.  Always determine the composition of the color of the toy.

An additional consideration is that small fingers are easily pinched.  Therefore storage containers, toy chests and any hinged items should be out of reach of this age group.

These are some of the safety considerations to keep in mind when selecting holiday toys for infants and toddlers.