Tis the season of gift exchanges, secret Santas and ol’ St. Nick himself. This season let’s make sure we are giving the best gifts possible. By this I mean no toys with lead paint, sharp corners or choking hazards.
The holidays can be exciting and stressful. Everyone wants to make sure that they are getting someone exactly what they want. But even Santa has to make sure that his toys are safe. The last thing a parent wants is to end up in the Emergency Room because their child swallowed a Lego piece. The following are some things to keep in mind while shopping this holiday season.
- Make sure the toys you are purchasing have been approved by the U.S. Consumer ProductSafetyCommission (CPSC) or by ASTM, an international organization that sets safety standards internationally.
- Watch out for toys that have sharp corners, small or broken pieces or flying parts. Sharp corners create a hazard for cuts and other injury. Small or broken pieces are easy for young children to swallow. Flying parts makes, “You’ll shoot your eye out” a real concern. We can’t protect our kids from everything; but putting extra danger in their hands is preventable.
- Bikes, scooters and roller blades are all great gifts, as long as they are paired with the proper safety equipment. When purchasing these items for kids this holiday, be sure to add in a helmet, knee and elbow pads and possibly some gloves.
- Keep toys age appropriate. This may be difficult in a household with multiple children at different ages. Keeping toys for older children out of the hands of younger children helps eliminate some of the hazards listed above.
- Stuffed animals are great, as long as they are washable. These toys can collect germs and grime very easily and should be cleaned every so often. Also make sure that any eyes, noses or buttons are secure on the animal.
The end of the year is such a joyous time. Let’s make sure to keep that joy going by not being one of the 250,000 children that ends up in the ER due to a toy-related injury. Be sure the toys you are purchasing are age appropriate and safe. Happy holidays everyone!
Health Education Specialist