When shopping for kids this and every Christmas, it’s important to think about what you’re giving and to whom. Age and safety are two words that should be right up there when we’re shopping for toys. Right up there with awesome and cool!
A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows in 2015 there were an estimated 254,200 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths nationwide.
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month with the message being for all of us keep our excitement and desire to get our children their favorite toys in check with the safety factors associated with them.
For example, some toys – even in 2016 - may contain lead hazards, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.
Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only a certified laboratory can accurately test a toy for lead. There are do-it-yourself test kits, but they don’t show how much lead is present and their reliability at detecting low levels of lead is said by the CDC to be iffy.
PreventBlindness.org also offers other important safety factors to look out for before and after buying toys:
Before you purchase a toy:
· Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
· Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child's ability and age.
· Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
· Check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
· Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
· Look for the letters "ASTM." This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
· Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.
Before letting children play with toys:
· Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction.
· Explain how to use the toy.
· Fix or throw away broken toys.
· Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.
· Supervise your children while playing.
· Store toys properly after play to avoid risks or falls.
· Supervise children's craft projects (scissors and glue can be extremely dangerous to a child's eyesight).
· Have children wear the right eye protection for sports (face shields, helmets, eyeguards).
For more tips, including a safe toy checklist, visit http://www.preventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklist.