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Giving Safe Toys for the Holidays

While children are writing their lists to Santa, parents are writing out their holiday gift list. While your child may ask for a specific toy, it may be hazardous to their health. Just because a toy is on the market does not guarantee it is safe—it is your job as a parent to be an educated consumer.

Here is a SAFE TOYS acronym to help parents select appropriate toys:

  • Small Pieces – If you have young children, avoid toys with small parts. A general rule of thumb is if your child is younger than three, do not purchase toys with pieces smaller than an empty toilet paper roll.
  • Appropriate Content – Be mindful of the age of the child receiving the gift. From video game violence to the content of a book series, take into account the child’s perspective and how the material will be received.
  • Flying Objects – Toy planes and model rockets can be a lot of fun if used correctly and under proper supervision. When used incorrectly they have the potential to cause serious damage and injuries.
  • Electrical Toys – Toys that plug in put your child at risk of electrical shock and burns. Select battery operated models instead. Just remember that batteries are small pieces.
  • Toxic Chemicals – Children’s toys have been found to contain dangerous levels of chemicals of concern such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Research toys before purchasing to ensure their safety.
  • Open Packages – Never purchase a toy if the package has been opened or tampered with.
  • You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” – Remember Ralphie from the classic movie, A Christmas Story, who wants a BB gun for Christmas? From BB guns to Nerf guns, these toys do have the potential to cause harm. If a child does receive a gift that ‘shoots,’ remind them that it should never be aimed at anyone’s head, younger children, or pets.
  • Sharp edges – avoid toys that have sharp edges or the potential to cause abrasions. Parents should also be careful when opening packaging, as this too can be dangerous.


Keeping your family safe and healthy should always remain a priority. Please contact Pediatrix if you have any specific holiday health concerns for your child.

Pediatrix offers resources on safety recalls to ensure that your child’s toys are safe year-round.

Pediatrix physicians are available after office hours during the week and on weekends and holidays. If you have a non-urgent matter, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours. To contact the physician on call, please call (602) 866-0550.


Have a safe holiday season.




Subir K. Mitra, MD

Posted in Blog on December 8th, 2011