Keeping the Holidays Safe – Safe Toys & Gifts Month

With the passing of Thanksgiving, most Americans are in pursuit of the perfect gift for the lucky recipients on their shopping list. For those shopping for children, it is important to consider their safety before making any purchases.

The most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated that while toy recalls are down, injuries resulting from toys are up. In fact, approximately 181,500 children under 15 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms because of toy-related injuries in 2010. The majority of the injuries were to the head and face, including the eyes.

New toy safeguards are in place, which have brought the rate of toy recalls down. In 2011 there were 34 toy recalls, down from 46 in 2010, 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008. Conversely, toy related deaths to children under 15 increased from 15 in 2010 to 17 in 2011. Half of these deaths were caused by balloons or small balls. It is important to keep deflated or broken balloons away from children under the age of 8.

The CPSC has launched its’ first product wide public warning about high-powered magnets due to the increased incidence of children swallowing magnets. Since 2008, 200 incidents have been reported.

Prevent Blindness America, an eye health and safety organization, has declared December to be Safe Toy and Gifts Month. Not all of the toys that children want are appropriate for their age. Shoppers must be vigilant in choosing age-appropriate toys. That is why it is important for shoppers to consider what is best for the child versus what they want.

Here are some tips to keep the children in your life safe this holiday season:

  1. Consider the child’s age and maturity level before making any purchases. Abide by age recommendations listed on the toys’ packaging.
  2. Purchase only toys that meet the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) approval. If the toy being considered makes the grade, there should be a label on the package stating so.
  3. Do not purchase items with sharp edges or toys that have parts that fly off such as bb guns.
  4. When purchasing sporting equipment, include protective gear as well. For example, if purchasing a bicycle, purchase a helmet as well.
  5. Do not give toys with small parts to young children as the small parts will often end up in their mouth presenting a choking hazard. If a toy can fit inside a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
  6. Inspect toys for sturdiness. Toys should be durable and able to withstand impact.
  7. Any toys labeled “supervision required” must be used in the presence of an adult.
  8. Keep toys meant for older children away from the younger ones.

Once the gifts are open, be sure to discard any packaging materials. You can check for toy recalls by visiting the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

The team at Raleigh Eye Center wants you and your loved ones to be safe this holiday season. If you have an eye related emergency or concern, please call our office at (919) 876-2427. We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season!