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Health & Wellness
Making A List and Checking It Twice – For Toy Safety

As many kids are gearing up for the biggest toy season of the year, some parents are exercising extra caution. In 2010, an estimated 181,500 children were treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury. That’s 500 kids every day. Nearly half of those injured were children 4 and under. We asked new mom Candice Ahwah-Gonzalez from Safe Kids Worldwide to share her personal and professional experience to bring light to National Toy Safety Month.

This year, I got my Christmas present early – in March actually. That’s when my baby girl, Ruby, was born.

Ruby is at an age (9 months) where she loves to explore – crawling and trying to walk all around the house, especially tagging along behind her big sister, Nyla, who is 8. What a sight to see my big girl and baby girl playing together for hours. They’ll sit and have “tea” with their stuffed animals and Nyla will even dress Ruby up like a doll herself, which is hysterical. They’ll go on that way for hours.

Of course, Nyla has her own favorite toys and games, and for years, I’ve followed a few tips to keep her safe. Things like:

  • Considering Nyla’s age when purchasing a toy or game;
  • Using a bin or container to store toys for next time, and making sure there are no holes or hinges that could catch her little fingers; and

But now, as a first-time mom of two kids, who are at very different ages, I realize I have to think of a few other special considerations on toy safety.

So if you’re like me, or if you have kids of different ages playing around your house, here are the two most important things about toy safety that I’m thinking about this holiday season:

1) Checking for small parts.

Now that my girls play together, I have to make sure Nyla understands she can’t play with games and toys that have small parts when she’s playing with her baby sister. Nyla’s been great about it. She saves play time with her own toys for when Ruby isn’t around. Just to be sure, I also keep a special eye out for small parts or other potential choking hazards.

2) Storing their toys separately.

Instead of one big toy box that we’ve had in our living room for years, now we have three toy boxes. The first is just for Nyla’s toys. The second is Ruby’s baby toys. And the third is for things that they use when they play together. So far, it’s working great.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I’m thankful for the times we share together as a family and I take pride in trying to make my home as safe as possible for my little ones. Now, if I can just get them to pick up their own toys, we’ll be in business.

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For more toy safety and other home safety tips, be sure to check out http://www.safekids.org.

Johnson & Johnson is proud to be a founding sponsor of Safe Kids Worldwide.

Candice Ahwah-Gonzalez is a program manager at Safe Kids Worldwide, specializing in child passenger safety and home safety issues. She uses her vast experience in the field of public health and research to elevate the program to new levels every day.