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Smart shopping can help keep children safe.

When it comes to toy safety, shoppers should remember that some products can create a health hazard. The number one concern is choking: several dozen U.S. children died from choking or aspiration between 2005 and 2009. The risk is highest for toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3.

To reduce the dangers of choking, aspiration, or other health hazards, keep these guidelines in mind when shopping for toys this holiday season.

Consider the Child’s Age

  • For children under three, don’t buy toys with parts less than 1.25 inches in diameter or 2.25 inches long.
  • If buying balls for children under six, the balls should be at least 1.75 inches in diameter.
  • Uninflated or broken balloons are a choking hazard for young children.
  • For preschoolers, if a toy or other gift has a string, it should be 7 inches or shorter.
  • Young children should not have toys that contain small, powerful magnets.

Watch for These Health Hazards

At any age, children can be at risk from a variety of items:

  • Toys that produce loud noise
  • Toys that contain lead or other harmful chemicals
  • Toys with sharp edges or projectiles with sharp points
  • Art supplies not labeled as nontoxic

Follow These General Tips

  • Read labels to make sure the toy is age appropriate.
  • Before a child uses the toy for the first time, follow all safety instructions.
  • Periodically check toys to make sure they are in good condition. Look for such things as:

    • Rust on metal toys
    • Splinters on wooden toys
    • Exposed parts or split seams on stuffed toys
  • Check the list of recalled toys and other items maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

At North Hills Hospital, we care about the health and safety of our youngest patients. If your child is ever injured in any way, our emergency room is ready to help. For outpatient surgical procedures, the staff at the Texas Pediatric Surgery Center is specially trained to keep kids calm and safe before, during, and after an operation. For more information about the center, call (817) 255-1010.

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Learn how to boost your kids’ safety.

During Safe Kids Week, discover easy ways to keep your kids safe. We’ve put together a list of quick tips to help you keep your kids safe and healthy year-round.

  • Buckle up all the time. Make sure your kids always use a safety belt in the car and that they use it correctly. If your children are still in a car seat, make sure it’s installed properly. Drop by your local hospital or police station for help installing it.
  • Keep medications out of the reach of children. Be smart about medication. Keep it away and locked from kids. Always use the correct dose. Check the dose twice.
  • Use smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Check batteries frequently.
  • Talk about strangers. No matter what age your kids are, talk to them about the dangers that strangers can present. From teens at parties to school-aged kids walking home, children need to know how to protect themselves.
  • Talk about bullying. Be a resource for your kids when it comes to bullying online and at school. Look for warning signs of depression, anxiety and anger.
  • Be safe in the sun. All year long, it’s important to keep your kids safe in the sun. Use sunscreen, hats and UV protective clothing on your kids when they’re outdoors. Consider mineral-based sunscreen if you’re concerned about chemical exposure.
  • Use safety equipment. When your kids ride bikes, skateboard or ride on other moving toys, make sure they’re wearing helmets. Use appropriate sports safety equipment and make sure it fits right.

Get the facts when it comes to kids' health. To find a doctor to speak with, please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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