Don't forget toy safety as Christmas nears

Dec. 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM
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DALLAS, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- As people make last-minute gift purchases for children, a U.S. pediatrician reminds all to guard against choking, noise and other hazards.

Dr. Joel Steinberg, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said parents should be wary of the social-emotional risks of certain toys, as many send a negative message that could later lead to destructive behavior.

"Parents should be very careful in selecting presents that may encourage violent behaviors, such as toy guns, knives, bow and arrows, or computer games," Steinberg said in a statement.

Steinberg offered other holiday-shopping tips:

-- Purchase age-appropriate toys. Toys too advanced may frustrate your child.

-- Be sure the toys aren't designed so a child can break them and choke on small parts.

-- Test a noise-making toy next to your ear. If the sound is too loud or irritating for you, then it's likely to be harmful to your child.

-- Pull-toys with strings more than 12 inches in length could pose a strangulation hazard for babies and toddlers.

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