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Use empty paper roll to check for toy safety

In 2007, approximately 45 million children's toys were recalled as hazardous. Toys are supposed to be fun, and are important in any child's development. But there's no guarantee that a toy you buy in the store is going to be safe for your child.

The following are helpful tips when purchasing a toy this year:

The noise of some rattles, squeak toys and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn or even louder if a child holds it directly to the ear, which can cause hearing damage. Other information to look for when buying a toy is that toys made with fabric should be labeled flame resistant or flame retardant. Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint and art materials should say nontoxic.

An available household object to determine which toys are safe is a toilet paper roll, which is approximately the size of a child's windpipe. Toys should be large enough (at least 3 centimeters in diameter and 6 centimeters in length) so they can't be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe.

Carly Heinen and Jenna Marklowitz, ATCC Child Development Program