For maximum safety, experts list toys to avoid

Friday, November 25, 2016

If you survived your Black Friday shopping excursion (that started Thursday afternoon) you and your family may not be in the clear yet.

If you already bought toys for the kids on your shopping list, you might want to check with the safety experts before putting them under the tree.

If you're waiting find some last-minute bargains, there's still a chance to improve the odds of a safe post-Christmas play session.

Emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and 44 percent of those were to the head and face area.

Boys seem to have a particular attraction to anything that is or seems dangerous, even in these politically correct days, but girls are catching up, thanks to female characters like Katniss Everdeen with her bow and arrow in "The Hunger Games" and others.

It's not all weapon-type toys, however, as basketball, baseball and air guns caused nearly half of all primary sports-related eye injuries, according to the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

The Prevent Blindness urges providing eye protection for sports, but also offers these toy safety tips:

* Don't buy toys that shoot or include parts that fly off, or toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or edges.

* Choose toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous pieces, and be sure toys are suitable for a child's ability and age.

* Don't give toys with small parts to young children, because they tend to put things in their mouths. And avoid toys with long strings or cords, especially for babies and very young children.

For extra safety, avoid toys like:

* Guns that shoot any type of projectile

* Water balloon launchers and water guns

* Games that include toy fishing poles

* Toy wands, swords, sabers or guns with bayonets

* Aerosol string

* Laser pointers and bright flashlights

* Crossbows and arrows

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