The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to finish up those last minute shopping trips. Getting the right gift for everyone is important, but there’s something that is even more important. It isn’t just about getting that toy that will make the kids squeal with glee on Christmas morning. It’s about getting a toy that will make them happy and will be safe for them to play with.
Vast numbers of toys are produced every year, and the greatest spike in toy purchases is right before Christmas. Stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys-R-Us stock their shelves with the hottest must-have toys for the holidays, and families may spend hours in the stores picking out the right gift for the kids in their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes the hottest picks for the holidays are also dangerous for the intended recipients.
Prevent Blindness America, an organization that works to raise awareness on issues that can damage the structure or health of the eye, insists that parents and other gift-buyers must be more conscientious about the kinds of toys that they are buying for the children in their lives. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported in 2010 that an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms across the country. The same report goes on to report that 72% of those injuries were in children under 15. Small and young children are at a high risk for injury with toys, particularly those will small or moving parts. The most common injuries were facial lacerations, contusions, abrasions, and swallowed parts.
There are several ways to be conscientious about the kind of gifts you are buying around the holidays and throughout the year. A complete list can be found at the Prevent Blindness Awareness website (preventblindness.org), however there are several easy things that you can do when out shopping this season.
Always read any warnings or labels on the gift packaging. Be mindful of the age of the child you are buying for and look for toys specialized for this age group.
Avoid toys with sharp edges, long cords, or small parts. These can cause injury, choking, or may be swallowed.
When buying a gift with parts that go flying (ex. Nerf guns), always give protective gear such as goggles at the same time.
Check the store customer service board for any recall notices. Avoid brands that consistently have recalls.
Give the gift of safety this holiday season by choosing age-appropriate toys.