Toy Safety Month
We hope that everyone has been enjoying the holiday season now that it has finally arrived for many of us! Friends and families alike will take part in holiday traditions and enjoy this special time of year. Of course, this season is commonly marked with gift giving between friends and family. Children especially will be busy playing with the latest toys and gifts that they have received, but making sure that they stay safe is just as important during the holidays.
December is National Toy Safety Month, which is right in time for those of you who are wondering what to get your child this holiday season. In 2010, an estimated 181,500 children were treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury. That’s 500 kids every day. Nearly half of those injured were children 4 and under. With hundreds of toys coming out every year, it can get it very confusing on which products are appropriate for our children. Reading the recommended age’s list on a toy can be a great determination if a product is age appropriate. This is information is very important because a toy can cause potential harm to a child if they do not fall in the recommended age group.
Consider some of the following tips when looking at toys this holiday season for any child:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Make sure that the toy doesn’t have parts that fly off, sharp edges or points, and that the toy is sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
- When selecting toys, consider the child’s age, interests and skill level. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels.
- Toys can be recalled for safety reasons, be sure check that any product that you are buying has not been recalled recently.
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it.
- Do not give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
- Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches that may pose a risk for choking to young children.
- Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Do not give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.
Following these basic tips are a great start when looking for the right toys for a child this holiday season. As always, be familiar with the toys that you are looking at and make sure to do your homework before purchasing any product. Keep your child safe during this Toy Safety Month!