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Safe Carroll: Consider toy safety tips when shopping for gifts

Each year, more than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the United States, with 65 percent of these sales occurring between the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas. There are approximately 215,000 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide.

Do your children like small play balls and balloons? These kinds of toys account for many choking deaths. Do your children like riding toys — unpowered scooters or tricycles? They are associated with more injuries than any other toy group; in fact, half of the toy-related injuries treated in emergency rooms were caused by unpowered riding toys. In addition to other hazards, any electrical toy is a potential burn hazard.

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Make sure your children play safely by following some simple safety tips.

Top toy safety tips

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•Be sure your children play with toys that are age-appropriate. Read the warning labels before buying toys for your children.

•Look for well-made toys.

•Check toys regularly for damage that could create hazards. Repair or discard damaged toys immediately.

•Make sure that discarded toys are out of children's reach.

•Watch your children while they play. Be aware of potential dangers like small parts, cords and strings, moving parts, electrical or battery-powered cords or wheels.

•Do not allow riding toys near stairs, traffic or swimming pools.

•Teach children to put toys away after playing. Toys intended for younger children should be stored separately from those suitable for older children.

•Make sure toy chests are open (no lid) or have safety hinges.

Safe Kids Carroll County wants your children to have a safe play environment with safe toys and wants to make this holiday toy-shopping season as worry-free as possible. Parents and caregivers can receive more information about toy and shopping safety by visiting Safe Kids at http://www.safekids.org.

Maggie Rauser is the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator for the Carroll County Health Department.

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