December is a month of happiness and celebration, but now more than ever, it is important to keep your parental guard up for potential safety hazards in the toys and gifts your children receive.
According to a 2014 study published in Clinical Pediatrics, a child is treated in the Emergency Room for a toy-related injury every three minutes in the United States. In an effort to minimize these injuries, Prevent Blindness America has declared December to be Safe Toys and Gifts Month to raise awareness of this issue to adults purchasing toys and gifts for children during the holiday season.
Prevent Blindness America suggests that before purchasing a toy:
● Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
● Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child’s ability and age.
● Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
● Check the lenses and frames of children’s sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
● Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
● Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
● Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
● Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball.)
● Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
● Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as this can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
● Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately. According to the CPSC, more children have suffocated from them than any other type of toy.
The effort continues at home…
Remain up-to-date with recent recalls. Many toys can prove to be harmful even after you’ve inspected them yourself. If your child owns one of the items recalled make sure to remove it. – Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers
By taking these precautions this December and all year long, we can make an impactful effort in reducing toy-related injuries for children.