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Did you know that “In 2011, 188,400 children under the age of 15 years were seen in emergency departments for toy-related injuries. That’s 516 children every day. More than a third of those injured were children 5 and under.” While parents, grandparents or caregivers are searching for toys for young children they should follow the 4 S’s guidelines. S for size; the smaller the child the bigger the toy needs to be. Toys should be big so children can’t put them in their mouths. Especially young children are always putting toys in their mouths, if toys are small it is easier for children to choke. Don’t pick toys that are too heavy, if the toy is on a shelf and the child tries to get it, it may fall and hit them. S for shape; no sharp or rough edges. Children can cut themselves on sharp toys and be easily injured. Also, caregivers should check toys regularly to make sure they aren’t broken. S for surface; toys should be nontoxic and non-flammable. Read the instructions and warning labels to make sure the toy is safe for your child. Make sure the toys are flame resistant and painted toys are lead-free. S for strings; no cords, ropes, ribbons or strings on a toy for young children. Cords and strings can get caught around a child’s neck and can cause death. Also, it may also get wrapped around a child’s arm or leg and can cause it to cut off circulation. Stay away from toys that are weapons, such as guns, swords and knives. When children are in the early stages of life they are very sensitive to sound. Stay away from toys that make loud noises it can hurt the child’s ears. When children are done playing. Toys should be put away to avoid a child from falling over them and getting hurt. Always store toys safely and avoid using a toy chest with a lid. The child could climb in and could get trapped in the chest. Also, if a child is getting a toy out of the chest the lid could fall and injure them. Do select toys that are waterproof and easy to clean. This is helpful incase a child is sick, it is easy to clean and helps protect other children from getting sick. An added bonus is if a toy can be used indoors and outdoors, for example a pop-up children’s tent. I would also suggest parents or caregivers to get some educational toys, such as puzzles, books and magazines, these help children learn and also read while playing.

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