In the United States, December is observed as “Safe Toys and Gifts Month” as a means for alerting us to the need to be careful when making our toy and gift choices, and to prompt us to keep in mind their safety and suitability. Knowing what to look out for can make a big difference in preventing possible injuries from well-intentioned gifts.
December was declared Safe Toys and Gifts month by Prevent Blindness America. This observance encourages everyone to consider the age appropriateness and if the toys they wish to give suits the individual skills and abilities of the child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three. Shoppers may forget about safety factors when it comes to purchasing their children’s desired toys and gifts. Before making purchases, it is essential to examine the safety and age range of the toys you select.
This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
- 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.
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
- 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.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead. Consult the last two websites listed below for more information.
- 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.
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.
Once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous play things.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
Giving your children a safe holiday season can be achievable by taking the proper precautions. You’ll be able to better protect your child from toy-related injuries by providing safe toys, environments, and adult supervision for when they open and play and with their toys.
By taking proper precautions, whether providing age-appropriate toys or proper protective eyewear, you can protect your child from injury. However, if your child should sustain an eye injury DO NOT allow child to rub or touch the eye, DO NOT apply medication to the eye, and DO NOT attempt to remove any debris from the eye. If the eye injury is caused by a chemical in the eye, flush the eye with water.For all eye injuries seek medical attention immediately.
We all want our children to be happy and healthy, and we want to protect them from harm. We can best achieve this goal by getting our children yearly wellness check-ups and eye examinations before school, as well as by providing safe toys, environments, and adult supervision.
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At Golden Eye Optometry, we view good vision care as front line protection at every age. A routine eye exam can detect more than poor vision. It can shed early light on glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes.