The office will be closed on Saturday, April 13. we apologize for the inconvenience!

Shopping for Toys? Remember ELF STEW

by |  November 26th, 2013

It’s impossible not to notice (retail stores have been preparing for months)…we are in the midst of the holiday season. This also means we’re approaching the biggest shopping period of the year.


Festive Baby on PresentsMany of you will be searching for children’s toys, which makes this a perfect time to bring up toy safety.

Why should you pay attention? Because in 2011, there were about 262,300 toy-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments. That’s right…more than a quarter million injuries. And every year this number gets a little higher.

The truth is most of the injuries were preventable.

To make toy safety easier to follow, several years ago I created an acronym that I’ve shared with my patients and Toddler 411 book fans. It might sound silly, but it works. Remember ELF STEW.

E: Electrical toys. These toys can cause electrical shocks or burns. Opt for battery-powered toys.

L: Loud noises.Some toys will be “intended for outdoor use only”. This is secret code that means this toy is REALLY LOUD. For kids, prolonged exposure to sounds at 85 decibels or higher can cause hearing damage. Several toys exceed 100 decibels when they are measured at close range.

F: Flying objects.These items may accidentally fly into a child’s eye or head and cause injury.

S: Sharp edges. Poorly made toys may have hard pieces of plastic or pins that stick out, which can cause cuts and abrasions.

T: Tiny parts.Young children will swallow small toy pieces, creating a choking hazard. Or, they may put them in other interesting body parts like the nose or ears. A good rule to follow: If the toy is smaller than the diameter of a toilet paper roll, it is too small to be in your toddler’s house.

E: Emotional hazards. 
Violent videos or games can have a significant emotional impact on your child. Snow White’s evil stepmother can be pretty darn scary to a toddler.

W: Wrong toy for the age of the child. 
Even if your child is a prodigy, it’s a good idea to follow the intended-age use for a product.

Good luck and stay safe. Click here for more toy safety info from the AAP.

Ari Brown, MD


411 Pediatrics Baby Toy Hazards


Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

Comments are closed.