Add toy safety to your holiday shopping list

It’s just as exciting for us to give gifts to children as it is for them to open them. But when shopping for kids this holiday season, keep in mind some of the tips the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends.

Choose quality
Toys for all ages and skill levels should be made with quality materials and construction. Toys that break can pose choking and laceration hazards. For a list of unsafe, recalled toys, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Mind the packaging
If you don’t want to remove the toy from its original packaging before you wrap it, make sure all ties and plastic are disposed of immediately after the child opens the gift, so they don’t become deadly playthings.

Read labels
If the label says it’s not for children under three, there’s a reason. Many people think children are mature enough for certain toys. But accidents happen. In fact, at least 41 children aspirated or choked to death from 2005-09 on balloons, toys, or toy parts.

Avoid other hazards

Lead and other toxic substances
. It’s a shame, but toys are recalled regularly because of unsafe levels of heavy metals or chemicals. Do not purchase toys made of PVC plastic, or play makeup with xylene, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.

Cords or drawstrings. Simply put, they’re a strangulation hazard. Some toys include those that can be suspended, like mobiles, or pull-behind puppies.

Magnets. If more than one is swallowed, strong magnets can become attracted to each other in the intestines, causing infection, perforation, and obstruction — all of which can be life threatening.

Noise. If it’s too loud for your ears, it’s probably too loud for a child’s sensitive ears.