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NORFOLK - With the Christmas season upon us, people are gearing up to buy toys and deck the halls.

CHKD pediatrician Dr. Carol Steiner with Nansemond Pediatrics has tips for having a safe holiday season.

HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS: (from the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Tip 1: Buy Age-Appropriate Gifts
--You can't go wrong if you stick with what you know -- books, videos, simple mechanical toys, blocks, board games, and sports and safety equipment. Just be sure the gift is age-appropriate and suitable to the child's ability.
--Read labels for important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Make sure the label says 'nontoxic.'
--Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child's mouth to prevent choking.
--Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries.
--Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child's hearing.
--Look for stuffed toys that are well made and machine washable. Take off loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
--Electric toys should be labeled 'UL Approved.'

Tip 2: Check Recall Information
--Toys are recalled for unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Recalled toys should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child's doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.
--Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site for photos and descriptions of all recalled toys.

Tip 3: Decorating: Seasonal Plants can be poisonous
--Poisonous holiday plants include amaryllis, boxwood, Christmas cactus, English and American ivy, Jerusalem or jimson weed, Christmas cherry, mountain laurel, holly and mistletoe berries.
--Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous, but they may cause skin irritation and stomach distress. -
-Other poisons to watch out for this time of year include alcoholic beverages, which are very dangerous to children; flavored baking extracts, which contain high amounts of alcohol; and colored wrapping paper, which may contain lead or other toxic materials.

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