December is designated Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Across the country, children receive most of their toys this time of year. Unsafe toys can cause serious injuries that may lead to blindness, disability, or even death. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), last year there were more than 250,000 toy-related emergency room visits.
Here is what Safe Kids USA recommends when choosing the best gifts for children of all ages:
- Children should be playing with age-appropriate toys. Always read the warning labels and instructions before purchasing a toy. Never allow a child to play with a toy which contains a warning label for his/her age. Remember, you know your child best, so, for example, if there is a toy with a label that warns against a child under 3 using it and your child is 4 and still exploring the world with his/her mouth, then don’t purchase or allow your child to play with the toy!
- Look for well-made, safe toys. Be aware of potential dangers such as small parts, loose parts, cords, strings, moving parts, magnets, electrical cords/wires, batteries, toxic materials, etc. and don’t bring toys which are dangerous into the home.
- Provide close, adult, age-appropriate supervision at all times while children are playing with toys [especially NEW toys]
- Be sure proper safety equipment is used in conjunction with toys requiring it. Forexample, a toddler riding a tricycle always needs a properly fitted bike helmet, and a child riding a scooter must wear an appropriate, well-fitted helmet.
- Never allow riding toys of any kind near stairs, swimming pools (or any water source), or traffic.
- Keep toys intended for older children away from younger children. Be sure that the older kids play with their toys in an area where young kids are not present, and that the toys are completely cleaned up after playing, and stored high up and locked away, where curious little ones can’t get to them.
- Check toys regularly for loose parts and damage, and discard any toys which could be a potential danger. Be sure to throw away any unwanted toys in a place where kids can’t see them, or get to them.
- Pay close attention to toy recalls and immediately follow the instructions for any recalled item. Check the CPSC website frequently and sign up for email alerts from the CPSC about recalls. Fill out and return any registration cards that come with the toy.
- Some particularly concerning items that parents should be extra careful to keep away from children at all times include: magnets, batteries, balloons (especially deflated ones and pieces of balloons once popped), small balls, and toys with small pieces.
- Put toys away after playing. Be sure to store toys intended for older children separate from toys intended for younger children.
- After opening up a toy of any kind be sure to get rid of all the packaging material right away, including any ribbons and ties which could pose a strangulation or choking risk.
- Avoid toys which require an electrical outlet for power. Instead, battery operated toys are preferred. Charging batteries, and anything which requires an electrical source should be handled by an adult. And, batteries should be kept out of reach of children at all times.
To keep holidays happy, make sure to keep the little ones safe!
To read more about how to keep kids safe year-round, click here: Safe Kids USA website
To learn about U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall information, click here: CPSC Recalls and Product Safety News
And, as always, we’ll keep you posted on important recalls and general safety on our Health & Safety blogs. Read them all here: HensonFuerst Health & Safety blogs