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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Offer Tips for Toy and Gift Safety

Delighting children with toys and gifts is a magical part of the holiday season, but pediatricians at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital encourage gift givers to exercise caution when selecting presents for little ones.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2020 there were nine deaths and more than 149,000 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms among children ages 14 and younger. The majority of these injuries and deaths were associated with choking on small parts of toys.

Pediatricians at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital offer the following tips for shoppers:

· Look for age appropriate labels on toys. The toy should suit the age and individual skills and abilities of the child who will receive it, especially if the recipient is younger than 3 years of age.

· Take note of safety warnings, information, and labels.

· Avoid toys that shoot, have parts that fly off, have points, or sharp edges.

· Make sure that toys are not too loud and will not cause hearing damage if the child holds it to their ear.

· Choose sturdy toys that will not break easily.

· Choose crayons and markers that are designated "nontoxic."

· Toys made with fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant. Plush toys should be washable.

· Include protective equipment with sporting equipment. For example, give a helmet and protective padding when giving a bicycle or skates.

· Toys with magnets and button batteries may cause serious injury or death if swallowed. Do not give gifts that contain these or any small parts to children younger than 3 years of age.

· Avoid toys with ropes, cords, and heating elements.

· Show your children how to use the toy safely, and always supervise children as they play.

“The smaller the child, the bigger the pieces of the gifted toy should be. Small pieces increase the risk for choking in small children. It’s also important to educate older children and help them keep their toys with small pieces away from younger children,” said Dr. Edward Clark, medical director for Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital. “If you’re gifting a skateboard, bicycle or other similar toy for outdoor fun, make sure you also include a helmet.”

Older toys may contain lead-based paint. Choose toys that use lead-free paint. As a precaution, parents should educate themselves on symptoms of lead poisoning and be aware of toys that have been recalled due to lead exposure. Parents should contact a physician if they believe their child has been exposed to lead. To check if a toy has been recalled or banned, visit www.cpsc.gov/recalls.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping continues to be a popular alternative to purchasing toys in stores. Adults should follow these additional safety tips from the CPSC:

· Shop from online retailers you know and trust.

· Look for choking hazard warnings, especially when purchasing toys and games online that contain small parts.

· To avoid counterfeits, scrutinize the product, the packaging, and the label. If the price seems too good to be true, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit.

· Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label.

The Pediatric Emergency Center at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital was designed specifically for children and families, and is staffed by board-certified pediatric specialists. Located at 888 Pine Street in Macon, care is available 24 hours a day, whenever injury or illness occurs.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well-being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.


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