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Safe Toys and Gifts

The holiday season is upon us! Magical snowflakes, delicious holiday baked goods, and mad crowds of shoppers when all you want to do is buy a snow brush.

It also sparks memories of when you were a child and dreaming of presents. Maybe you received a home chemistry kit, or a new toboggan, or a video game console. Perhaps there was a gift you asked for and didn’t receive “because you may shoot your eye out” (see the classic holiday film, The Christmas Story).Building dreams!

Now that you’re done re-living your favourite toy experiences from childhood, give consideration to the month known as “Safe Toys and Gifts Month” - December. While Health Canada does check and inspect toys (and other goods), you can be a better informed consumer by doing your own pre-toy inspection. Unfortunately, the Council doesn’t sell “Toy Inspector” badges. However, feel free to craft your own.

Here are some questions for proper toy inspection:

  1. What’s the age limit?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. Are the parts small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube? If yes, the toy is not for children 3 years and younger.
  4. Does it have a long rope or cord? If yes, it can be a strangulation hazard.
  5. Is it labelled non-toxic?
  6. Does it contain magnets or button batteries?
  7. Does it look durable?
  8. Does the packing have the manufacturer’s contact information located on it?

If you are a parent or guardian and your child receives a toy, inspect the toy with the questions as above. Ensure your children use the toy appropriately and if it breaks, fix it or replace it immediately. Furthermore, make sure to throw away all packaging as children may find the box or plastic ties more interesting than the toy!

Health Canada has a database of recalled products that you can search. If you feel unsure, do a quick online search for a review of the toy to see what others have said about it.

The “creation of a province of safety excellence” starts young. Let’s work together to ensure the safety of children this holiday season.

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