Put Children's Safety at the Top of Your Holiday Shopping List
Annual Report Shows Toy-Related Injuries to Children Continue to Rise
Shopping for the holidays is already in full swing! With stores and online retailers already offering sales and discounts to consumers, it is important that children's safety be at the top of the shopping list.
In the most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), injuries related to toys actually increased from the previous year. There were nearly 186,000 injuries that required emergency room treatment for those ages 15 and younger in 2009, compared with approximately 173,000 in 2008. And, nearly half (90,600) of those injuries were to children less than 5 years of age. The majority of injuries were to the head and face area, including the eyes. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions made up most of these injuries.
To help ensure a safe holiday season, follow these tips:
Inspect all toys before purchasing. Monitor toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child's age and developmental level.
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).
Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child's toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.
Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child. Be diligent about inspecting these gifts before allowing your child to play with them.
Read the instructions and the suggested age level on the packaging. Assess whether the item is appropriate for the child's ability and age. Age labeling is provided not just for developmental reasons, but for safety reasons as well.
Any toy that is labeled "supervision required" must always be used in the presence of an adult. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.
Always save the warranties and directions for every toy. If possible, include a gift receipt. Repair or throw away damaged toys.
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.
The CPSC recommends that children younger than eight years old be kept away from deflated balloons. Discard broken balloons at once as these represent a serious choking hazard.
For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are secured within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
The holidays should be spent with friends and family, not in the emergency room. By taking a few, easy safety precautions, we can keep the festivities happy and healthy!
This article is based on information provided by Prevent Blindness Ohio and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2010.
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Last Reviewed: Dec 20, 2010