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Don't let dangerous gifts be the grinch this Christmas

A report released last month by the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 174,100 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries and seven deaths in 2016 to children younger than 15.

Riding toys, specifically non-motorized scooters, were the toy category associated with the most injuries and nearly half of toy-related deaths.

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month and Brenda Gandy, Oklahoma State University Extension educator for Stephens County, offered some suggestions for choosing safe toys and Christmas gifts.

"I think it's important that we know not all toys are appropriate for every child," Gandy said. "You have to know your child. You want to think about things that are age-appropriate and read the labels. It's real easy to say, 'Oh, I love this toy' and buy it because you and I would love it, but it may not be appropriate at all for the child we are shopping for."

There's a long list of items that can present hazards for children, and it would be a horrible experience to think you purchased a toy that caused injury, Gandy said.

"Look at choking hazards for kids under 3 years old, but it can be serious up to an 8-year-old," she said. "A burst balloon and the loose pieces, there are many, many accidents with those. Toys with small pieces, we need to be really cautious around small children. I compare most everything with my grandkids. I have one that just turned 1 and one that just turned 4."

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