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Safety concerns to consider when buying toys this Christmas season | Wear the Gown

There's just over a week left until it's time to unwrap those presents. Here's how you can make sure safety hazards don't await your young children.

SAN ANTONIO — With just a handful of shopping days left until Christmas, we're reaching the homestretch of time left on the clock for you to work through your nice list. 

At the same time, it's important to take stock of and consider safety concerns when it comes to certain products. For starters: Make sure you check the age recommendation on the packaging so younger children don't ingest something they shouldn't. 

"The reason that recommendation is there is because toys that are recommended for older children often have small pieces to them," said Fara Smith, program manager for Safe Kids San Antonio, within University Health's injury prevention department. 

Smith says pieces of toys the size of a quarter is a good way to gauge whether they present a choking hazard for children. 

"These can be stocking-stuffers for older children, but can be dangerous for a small child because of the smaller parts that can break off easily." 

Magnets, too, offer an added risk, especially if they're swallowed. 

"The danger with magnets being swallowed is that (while) connected they could cause a blockage in that child's body, (or) they could pinch up against an organ," Smith said. 

Small, circular button batteries (also known as coin batteries) are also easy to swallow, and could prove to be life-threatening. 

"There are poisons that can be released in a child's body and really burn the lining of a child's stomach, pose a lot of health concerns for that child," Smith added. 

Meanwhile, if you're picking out a skateboard, scooter or bike for your child, make sure to also grab a helmet. 

"You do want to make sure that it doesn't significantly move forward or backward on a child's head, and to make sure the chin strap is nicely snug against the child's chin," Smith said. 

Also, avoid toys with toxic materials that could case poisoning. Make sure the label says "nontoxic" before you buy it. 

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