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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that hospital emergency rooms across the country treat more than 200,000 toy-related injuries each year.

Because the most commonly injured part of the body is the head and face area, Prevent Blindness America developed a list of gift-buying tips to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone.

Before purchasing a toy:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child's ability and age.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters "ASTM." This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball).
  • Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
  • Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as this can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
  • Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.