The holiday season is in full swing, and so is toy shopping for the special children in our lives. Toys are fun and enjoyable for children, but could pose serious health risks.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency rooms treated more than 250,000 in 2017 due to toy-related injuries.

This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

◾Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.

◾When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it.

◾Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.

◾Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

◾Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard).

◾Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead.

◾Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children.

◾Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.

◾Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

Call the CPSC hotline: (800) 638-CPSC to report a toy you think is unsafe. If you have any doubt about a toy’s safety, err on the side of caution and do not allow your child to play with it.