With the holidays just around the corner, most people are indulging in hot cocoa and egg nog, warming up by the fire, and of course, heading out to find the perfect gifts for loved ones. Especially if you’re purchasing for small children, it is important to consider how those gifts will be used. If not supervised or cared for properly, these shiny new toys could prove more harmful than good. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 256,700 toy-related injuries in 2013. Nearly 70% of these injuries happen to children under the age of 12.
Can you guess which part of the body is the most commonly injured? It’s the head and face area. Because of this, Prevent Blindness America declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month. With raised awareness, adults can make better informed decisions on keeping the holiday season joyful for all, and avoid costly hospital visits with the kids.
Prevent Blindness America suggests that before purchasing a toy:
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
• For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
• For all children under age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
• Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight.
• Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
• Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.
• Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and when appropriate, to the child.
• Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.
And adults – you aren’t off the hook, either. You’re at risk of getting a number of eye injuries from other sources. Prickly pines from a Christmas trees, popping open a bottle of champagne, or even misuse of your children’s toys could result in painful injury as well.