A Pediatrician’s Holiday Toy Guide

As the holidays quickly approach, we are trying to figure out how to beat the lines in Target or frantically filling our Amazon Prime baskets with toys.  There is nothing more satisfying than watching your child’s face light up as they finally get the toy they have been patiently waiting for since August. Unfortunately, there are some toys that pose serious safety risks.  As a pediatrician, I see a surge of child injuries and ingestions during the holiday season.  Let’s go over some quick tips to keep your child safe and smiling, and your holiday filled with happy memories!

The Baby of the Family.  When picking out presents for your children, always keep the developmental stage of your youngest child in mind.  If your six year old is dying for the latest Ninjago Lego set that has 650 small legos, it is imperative that you buy a secure device that keeps the pieces organized and out of the reach of your curious infant.  The small pieces are choking hazards.  In addition, it is usually difficult to determine what exactly was ingested due to the large amount of pieces that exist.  Also, try to avoid hobby kits that contain small beads, or chemistry kits that contain materials that can be toxic if ingested by your infant or younger child.

Magnetic Forces.  Many educational toys, such as magnetic letters, can provide fun educational experiences for your little ones, but they can also be extremely dangerous if swallowed. The forces of a magnet can cause serious damage to the lining of the intestines or stomach.  It is important to keep small or loose magnets out of the reach of infants.  Avoid buying magnets that come in as set of more than ten pieces as it is harder to keep track of and identify when one is missing.  If your child swallowed magnets, they may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, or drooling.  If you think your child may have swallowed  magnets, contact your pediatrician and seek medical attention immediately.

Button Batteries.  Button batteries are small round batteries that are used in many household electronics such as remotes, cameras,  toys, and games.  These small shining batteries are very appealing to curious infants and toddlers.  Unfortunately, they are very easy to place in the nose and ear, or even swallow.  Depending upon the voltage, a button battery can lead to serious damage or death of any tissue that the battery is touching.  As you help your children open their toys and put them together, be aware that batteries need to be placed out of the reach of small infants.  If your child’s new game requires button batteries, make sure to keep the extra batteries high on a shelf or in a closet.  The ingestion of a button battery is a medical emergency.  If you think there is a possibility that your child ingested a battery, go immediately to your closest emergency room.

I Got Some New Wheels.  If you are planning on getting your child a new bike, scooter, or skate board, it is extremely important that you buy the protective gear that is required to ride.  We treat a lot of head injuries during the holiday season.  I can’t stress enough that wearing a helmet will save your child’s life in the event of an accident. Hoverboards are extremely dangerous, sending thousands of people to the emergency room with broken bones and head injuries.  If you are planning on buying a hoverboard for your child, I highly recommend you reconsider.  Please never allow your child on this device without a helmet and wrist guards.

I hope this helps with you journey and a very healthy and Happy Holidays!!!

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