As the countdown to find the perfect gift for your friends and family members continues, Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) reminds shoppers to be mindful of the toys and gifts they purchase for their loved ones – especially children – during this December observance of Safe Toys and Gifts month.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were nine toy-related deaths and an estimated over 250,000 toy-related injuries in 2013. All nine deaths were associated with children under the age of 12 and were caused mainly by asphyxiation (choking/suffocation). Riding toys were responsible for 22 percent of the nine deaths while lacerations, contusions and abrasions were the most common injury. The face and head were the most affected area of the body. Non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toy most associated with injury to children 12 years of age or younger, as well as children younger than 15 years old.

This year, CDPH urges families and friends to consider purchasing safer toys for children younger than 15 years of age, and offers these safety tips:

  • Avoid toys with small parts or many pieces for children younger than 5 years of age
  • Always check with parents of children first before deciding on a toy for the child
  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box, as well as suggested age suitability
  • Avoid toys that shoot or have parts that fly off
  • Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords
  • Make sure purchased toys can withstand impact and will not break into small shards
  • Avoid toys with sharp edges, spikes, protrusions or rigid points
  • Look for the letters “ASTM” on toy packaging which indicates that the product meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety standards
  • Consider if there are younger children in the house before buying a toy that shoots, fires, has many small pieces, requires assembly or can be ridden for an older child
  • Always clean up balloons as soon as they break or deflate to avoid choking hazards
  • Make sure sports equipment has accompanying protective gear, especially gear protecting the head and face
  • Help children learn how to safety use their toys and monitor children when they play

For more information about toy and gift safety, visit