Play It Safe: Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month
It’s that time of year again…we’re fighting the crowds at the malls and department stores to cross everything off of our holiday shopping list. If you are a planner, you might already have most, if not all of your shopping done. However, there are those of us who wait until the last minute to find those perfect gifts. Regardless of your strategy, it’s important to be mindful of what you are purchasing, especially if there are children on your list.
Appropriately timed, December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 250,000 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2015. While these statistics are alarming, there are many simple forms of prevention that you can practice when it comes to toy safety.
To prep you for your next shopping trip, we’ve put together a list of some things you should be mindful of when buying for children.
- Choose toys that are age appropriate. Most packaged toys have an age range listed on the box. Buying out of this range could lead you to choose something that is hazardous for a younger child.
- Always inspect the toys before you let your children start playing. Make sure everything is assembled correctly and is an appropriate size, weight, etc.
- Stay away from toys with heating elements, ropes, straps or cords.
- For toddlers and infants, avoid toys with small objects that could easily be swallowed.
- Avoid toys with sharp edges and anything that produces loud sounds.
- When purchasing for children with special needs, consider toys that are sensory driven (movement, texture, etc.). If you are unsure about what to purchase, consult with the parent or guardian.
- When gifting sports/outdoor equipment, make sure you are including the appropriate protective gear – ex. a bicycle should come with a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
- Make sure the toys you are purchasing have passed a safety inspection. Anything labeled with “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- If you are the parent, make gift recommendations to those who might be buying for your children. This could prevent someone gifting something that isn’t age appropriate or safe for your child.