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Ask yourself these questions to find kid-safe toys

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As you’re looking through mounds of different action figures, stuffed animals and nerf guns, remember that the most important thing a toy can be is safe.

When toy shopping, it’s natural to buy kids what they ask for or what you think will be the most fun. However, as you’re looking through mounds of different action figures, stuffed animals and nerf guns, remember that the most important thing a toy can be is safe. Ask yourself these questions to make sure your purchase steers clear of the danger zone.

1. Is this in the right age range?

Your child may be advanced for his or her age, but these recommendations are based on safety factors. If the item you’re considering doesn’t have an age recommendation on it, look at boxes for similar toys to gauge the appropriateness of the gift you’re considering.

2. Does this gift require protective gear to go along with it?

If you can’t resist this realm of toys, consider how far the projectile goes: if it goes a long distance, it can pack a serious punch. Look at the pictures on the box. Do the models have on protective gear? Is there any protective wear included? If the children on the box are wearing safety gear that’s not included, consider buying it as a second gift.

3. Is this gift larger than the recipient's mouth?

Avoid any type of choking hazard by opting for toys larger than the recipient’s mouth. If it can’t fit, they can’t choke.

Remember that even toys that are physically large can be a choking hazard: if you buy a stuffed dog and the dog has a collar and the collar has a bell or nametag attached, it can easily come off and be swallowed. Others toys might come with leashes, strings and ribbons, which can become a strangulation hazard. Watch out for both possibilities.

4. Is this plastic sturdy? Is it toxic?

Some plastic is sturdier than other types, and flimsy materials can result in breaks that produce sharp edges which can cut children.

Different kinds of plastics also contain different elements that can be toxic to kids. PVC contains phthalates, which can disrupt hormones, and many plastics contain lead. Overexposure to lead can manifest in a variety of ailments. Wooden toys or toys made from other natural materials are not associated with these risks.

5. Could this toy be dangerously loud?

Think about the volume control on toys that emit sound. Some toys are considerably louder than others and those used improperly and those that lack a volume control function can cause hearing damage.

6. Would this toy require supervision?

Consider if you would let the child be alone with the toy, or if you (or the parent) would have to watch them like a hawk. If you would be worried being in another room while the child has the toy, child is in the living room, you probably don’t want to make that purchase.

Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention.