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We all remember the best part of the holidays when we were kids: the gifts! For most children, the best part about the holidays is the anticipation of unwrapping all of their new toys.
However, even with the best of intentions, some of the toys we gift our little ones can be hazardous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2005 more than 200,000 toy-related injuries were reported, and nearly 8,000 of these injuries were eye injuries. Because of this, the national group, Prevent Blindness, chose December as “Safe Toys and Gifts Month.”
To make sure the gift you give is both age-appropriate and safe for the special child in your life, here are some questions to keep in mind.
Is it age appropriate? – Keep the child’s age in mind when purchasing gifts and consider their maturity level. Read the age recommendations and any warnings on the packaging.
Is it well constructed? – Even the cuddliest of toys can be hazardous if they break down after just a few play sessions. Look for the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) approval. There will be a label on the package if it meets these standards.
Can it pass the choking test?– Test all small toys or parts of toys to ensure they are not choking hazards. You can do this by taking a toilet paper roll and placing the toy or piece inside. If it fits, it should not be given to a child under 3 years old.
Can they practice ‘safe’ play? – If you are planning on gifting sporting goods, keep them all around the safety of the child in mind to promote ‘safe’ play. Giving a skateboard? How about a helmet and some pads to go along with it?
Do you know if it has been recalled? – Check for recalls on both new and older toys. You can access recall information on the Safe Kids USA or the Consumer Product Safety Commissions websites. Both websites offer email alerts for newly recalled products.
Can you trust them to play by themselves? – This is not to say your little ones aren’t trustworthy, rather can their toys be trusted even without adult supervision.? Would you feel safe walking out of the room when they are playing? If you’re not sure, watch them play for the first few uses. If you’re still not sure, maybe a different gift would be more appropriate?
We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Holiday season!
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