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Holiday Toy Safety: DHEC Provides Tips to Help Keep Children Safe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As the holiday season brings the promise of new toys to many children all over South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reminds parents that being mindful of toy safety is always in season.

According to the 2020 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Report, an estimated 198,000 people were treated for toy-related injuries in emergency departments across the United States last year. Of those, 73 percent occurred in children 12 years old or younger and 40 percent occurred in children younger than 5.

“This holiday season, supply issues may mean stores have fewer toy options to select from or fewer toys that you’re familiar with,” said Kevin Poore, Director of Safe Kids South Carolina, a statewide coalition led by DHEC. “It’s important now more than ever to ensure the toy purchases you make for children are safe.” 

To help parents reduce toy-related injuries, DHEC offers these key tips: 

  • Supervision is essential. Always keep an eye on your children, especially when they first receive a new toy.  Also, provide safe, hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors. Children can play roughly with toys, so regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.
  • Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose toys according to a child's age, interest and skill level. Also, be aware of other safety labels such as "flame retardant/flame resistant" or "washable/hygienic materials" on dolls and other stuffed toys.
  • Discard packaging like plastic wrappings from toys immediately, as they can potentially be choking or suffocation hazards.
  • Don't give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc. These are choking hazards.
  • Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from materials like metal or glass. These toys should not be given to children under the age of eight. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.
  • Don’t forget protective equipment. If you plan to purchase a bike, scooter or skateboard, remember to also purchase and ensure your child properly wears a helmet certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) plus knee and elbow pads.

For more tips to protect your children, visit DHEC’s Prevent Injuries webpage.


Additional resources:

•    Safe Kids National Toy Safety Tip Sheet •    Safe Kids South Carolina •    Downloadable DHEC PSA: Christmas Toy Safety Tips (MP4) •    Downloadable DHEC PSA: Christmas Toy Safety Tips without music (MP4)