SIOUX FALLS, SD
When you're buying toys for your children or grandchildren this Christmas, remember toys aren't always fun.
Thousands of children suffer injuries every year from toys and wind up in the emergency room. At least 17 children in the United States even died last year.
With dozens of children to watch, and bags of toys donated every holiday season, Gina Blake at Apple Tree North has become an expert at choosing safe toys for children.
"That there aren't any sharp edges, that they're sturdy, that kind of thing," Blake said.
Along with paying attention to the recommended ages on the outside of a box, you should also supervise your children when they're around other children's toys.
"You can buy an age-appropriate toy for an eight-year-old. But if you have a number of two or three-year-olds also in the home, is it safe to have those toys in the home," Amy Marsh with Sanford Poison Center said.
Marsh says the top toys to watch out for are balloons, small balls and other toys with small parts, scooters and riding toys, magnets, and small batteries in electronic devices.
"Up until about age 5, they have a tendency to put everything in their mouth, so you need to really watch what kind of size items you're buying for your children," Marsh said.
You not only want to watch out what toys you buy your kids, but also how you wrap them for Christmas.
"We want to have nice packages under our tree. But as soon as those things are opened, get rid of the packaging so there isn't that choking hazard for the children," Marsh said.
And with that advice, children will hopefully be able to have a happy, safe holiday season.
"We don't want anybody to get hurt here. So, we always make sure that the pieces are age-appropriate with choking hazards for kids under three," Blake said.
Marsh says if you buy a toy in a store, you shouldn't have to worry about lead content or carcinogens, thanks to strong federal rules.