ECU Health expert gives safety tips for toy shopping this holiday season

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The holiday season is here and it’s important to be safe while getting ready for festivities. For many families, this includes testing children’s toys that could be dangerous for both older and younger kids.

As parents search for the perfect gifts for their kids, safety is a concern for moms like Madelena Cabrara, who tries to avoid toys with small pieces.

“I don’t like to buy little toys, like little balls when the child is small. I would like to buy for my daughter like barbies or bicycles,” Cabrara says.

ECU Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Ellen Walston says those precautions are exactly what parents need to keep in mind.

“Christmas is fun and exciting, and we want children to enjoy the season, yet we also have to make sure that safety is not forfeited,” Walston says.

Walston adds that you especially want to avoid toys that pose a choking, chemical burn, or suffocation hazard to children.

“Our biggest concern again this year is button batteries, and those can typically be found in your musical books, greeting cards will have the small button batteries. And the injury risk for those is chemical burns if a child ingests one of those,” Walston says.

As Cabrara keeps an eye out for safety, she’s also focusing on toys that will benefit the learning and growth of her kids.

“She loves painting and I think this is good because when they are painting, it stimulates the brain and is good for her,” Cabrara says.

Walston also encourages parents not to sacrifice their children’s safety in choosing to buy the most available toy as some toys may be on back order or will take longer to arrive.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says in 2021, the U.S. had 1,052 children under the age of 15 taken to emergency departments with injuries, an increase of 2,000 from 2020. During that time period, 2 deaths also occurred.