Health

As tradition dictates, shoppers will take to stores around Louisville on Friday in the semi-official launch of the holiday shopping season—and it’s important for them to pay close attention to what they’re purchasing for children.

Louisville pediatrician Heather Felton said people shopping for children should be aware of potential hazards.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates hospital emergency departments treated 188,400 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 15 in 2013.

Felton said parents shouldn’t ignore the age recommendation labels on toys.

“Really look at that as far as what that manufacturer recommends. And when they put that number on there they’re taking into consideration the type of toy that it is. Is it appropriate for their development? Does it have small pieces that can be easily swallowed?” she said.   

Felton said the most common injuries are swallowing and choking.

But families should be cautious with more than toys around the holidays. Ornaments, Christmas lights and stockings also threaten children’s safety, Felton said.

“You also want to look out for Christmas lights and make sure children who are young aren’t chewing them and putting them in their mouth and at risk for being electrocuted by it,” Felton said.

Also, “heavy stockings holders on top of the mantle that can be pulled down and fall on top of a child. Those are the kinds of things you want to watch out for.”