Play it safe this Spring

While parents are scooping up the hottest toys for spring and summer play, safety should be at the top of the list.  Each year an estimated 169,300 toy-related injuries in children ages 14 years and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the United States.  With the federal toy safety standards passed in 2008, parents can be reassured that the vast majority of toys on store shelves are safe.

 Appropriate selection and proper use of toys, combined with active adult supervision, can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of toy-related injuries.  If you have multiple children in your homes of different ages, make sure to keep their toys separate.  This is because children should only be allowed to play with age appropriate toys.  Some of the toys that older children play with have little parts or pieces that a younger child might choke on.  Keeping toys separated & secured is important when younger children are in the home.    

 Some safety tips to help make for safer play are as follows:

  • Use Mylar balloons instead of latex.
  • Make sure to consider the child’s age, interests, and skill ability when selecting toys.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud noises and projectiles (such as darts).
  • Toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than 7 inches can unintentionally strangle children and should be avoided. 
  • Inspect old and new toys regularly for damage and potential hazards at least every 3 months.
  • Toy cap guns use caps that can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns; these should not be used by children.
  • Assure covers to battery compartments are well secured so children can’t access the batteries.

 Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys as well as any toy that has small balls and small parts, magnets, electrical or battery power, cords and strings.  Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising.  Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach while paying undivided attention. 

 Eighty eight percent of deaths and nearly eighty percent of hospital emergency room visits for airway obstruction injuries were among children ages 4 and under.  The majority of these incidents occur in the home.  Children are at risk for choking on small round foods such as hot dogs, candies, nuts, grapes, carrots, and popcorn.  Some non-food items tend to be coins, small balls, and balloons.

 Always actively supervise young children while they are eating or playing.

  • Do not allow children under 6 to eat round or hard foods including hot dogs. 
  • Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s outerwear.
  • Learn how to give first aid to a child who chokes or stops breathing.

 For more information about safe play or any unintentional injury, e-mail us at, or check out our website

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About safekids

Safe Kids Grand Forks is an injury prevention coalition who has as their mission to prevent unintentional injuries to children under the age of 10. Safe Kids Grand Forks is one of over 600 state and local coalitions affilicated with Safe Kids Worldwide in Washington, D.C. Altru Health System is the lead agency for SKGF and our goal is to collaborate and coordinate activivies of all entities in the community who have childhood injury prevention on their agenda. Together, we are keeping the children of our community and region safe!!