CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It’s always fun to see a child’s eyes light up with happiness as they open up their presents to find their favorite toy.
3-year-old Bentley and 5-year-old Palace always make the most of playtime.
Mom Shannain Washington, who’s a former head start teacher, says she loves toys that not only keep the kids busy and engaged but most importantly are also age appropriate.
“With them still being babies, they tend to put things in their mouths, and I don’t want them to choke on small items that might break off so that’s really important to me,” says Washington.
Washington says she prefers to do most of her shopping online.
She says not being able to touch and feel the product makes reviews and product descriptions even more important.
“Reading and looking at reviews and doing research or asking friends who have kids. I think it’s important to ask questions and look and shop around,” says Washington.
Dr. Sam Soutter who is a surgeon at Summerville Medical Center agrees.
He says in the past he has seen upwards of eight kids in the ER during a holiday season due to some popular toys that can pose a risk.
“Smaller toys can be inserted into ears, noses, or even into the esophagus and worst of all in the airway,” says Soutter.
It’s important Soutter says for parents to make sure the pieces of a toy are for children younger than 5.
Kids should be no bigger than that child’s fist. and make sure to protect younger kids from older siblings toys.
He says even simple things like button batteries used in many toys and watches can be dangerous.
“Kids swallow them and the wet saliva in the esophagus can cause these buttons to burn through the esophagus,”says Soutter.
" I’m more around the safe side so as long as he’s good with a puzzle, I’m good with it. I’m sure you can’t get much harm done with a puzzle," says Washington.
Soutter also says another thing to look out for when it comes to toys is those that might contain lead.
He says the majority of toys made in China contain the toxic dangerous metal. So you might want to check the manufacturer’s name through a consumer reporting agency or on the internet.
Soutter says see if their products have had recalls for high lead content.