What’s your number one priority when picking out holiday gifts for little ones? Personally, I read tons of reviews to find out if it’s age-appropriate, if it’s well-made, and most of all, if it’s a fun toy. But I think I’ve been missing one of the most important considerations — the safety of the toy.
Pamela Pimentel, RN and CEO of MOMS Orange County, explains why I may want to reconsider my toy-purchasing mentality.
“In 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 256,700 toy-related injuries, with 73 percent of those injuries occurring among children under the age of 15. Nearly a third of these injuries happened to kids younger than 5 years of age. The most common injuries were lacerations, contusions or abrasions to the head and face area of children’s bodies.Fortunately, most of these injuries are avoidable.”
In honor of Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month, Pamela shares some simple ways to make your holiday purchases worry-free.
- Check labels to ensure the toys you select passed a safety inspection. The designation “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Give protective gear with gifts of sports equipment. For example, give a helmet with a skateboard or bike.
- Avoid toys with small pieces, including magnets and “button” batteries, which can cause severe injury or death if ingested. Young children 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 younger than 3 years of age.
- Pass up giving toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.
- Inspect toys before purchasing them. Avoid items that shoot or include parts that fly off. Toys should not have sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed or being pulled apart easily.
In addition, Pamela points out some helpful websites that can point you in the right direction, including a safe toy checklist from Prevent Blindness and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s 29th Annual Survey of Toy Safety.
Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season!