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Keep Your Holidays Safe with the Right Toy Choices

Make sure your holidays stay happy by choosing safe toys for children. Under the gift-wrap may be a potential hazard.

From choking to recalls, how can you make sure your gift is safe? Following a few guidelines will ensure children stay safe this season. Dr. Brian Ellis is a Norman pediatrician. He says the most common toy danger is choking.

“I think most people can look at a toy and see if the parts are small enough to be a choking hazard,” Ellis said. “We just need to stop and think about the child the toy is intended for, but we also need to think about if there might be other younger children in the house that might be able to get the small pieces.”

Ellis said toys with magnets can be particularly dangerous since they can stick together in a child’s intestines and cause on obstruction or even rupture. Small balls are also very dangerous as they can completely block a child’s airway. Even simple, every-day items can be hazardous.

“Balloons can be more dangerous than most people are aware,” Ellis said. “If the balloon breaks and a piece is ingested, it can occlude the airway.”

Latex balloons can also trigger allergic reactions in some children. Mylar balloons are a safer alternative. Gift-givers should also pay close attention to the age guidelines listed on a toy’s packaging.

“The toy companies do lots of research to make sure that the age guidelines are accurate,” Ellis said. “I would recommend following the guidelines. The age difference may not seem like much, but children are developing skills and abilities very rapidly in the first few years of life, so a few months can make a big difference.”

As a gift-giver, you can also go the extra mile for safety and include safety accessories with your present. If you buy a child a bike, skateboard or scooter, include a helmet, knee and elbow pads or wrist guards.

Hazards can not only lurk under the Christmas tree, sometimes a decorated tree is a danger itself.

“We need to watch little ones around the Christmas tree and lights,” Ellis said. “The fragile nature of Christmas lights, and the possibility of exposed wires on the lights, can be very dangerous.”

Ellis urges parents to “not overdo it” around the holidays and let children enjoy the simple, wonders of the season.

Brian Ellis, M.D. is Norman Regional’s newest pediatrician. He is available for well-child checks and immunizations, sick care, and overall medical needs that may arise for your child. Dr. Ellis graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed his residency at The Children’s Hospital at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. Dr. Ellis is originally from Midwest City. His office is located at 500 East Robinson, Suite 2600, near Norman Regional Hospital. His office phone is 364-6432.

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