December has been declared Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month in America to ensure a safe gift-giving season. As we consider our children’s wish lists, we need to ensure toys are appropriate to the age and skill level of children, especially when they are under the age of three. Did you know that hospital ER’s treat over a quarter million toy-related injuries a year in the United States? Three-fourths of those treated are under the age of 15. Age-appropriate toys can reduce the risk of injury to our little ones. And we all know that if they are under the age of three, everything goes into their mouth. Below are some additional guidelines for consideration as we shop through the wish list.
- Inspect toys for sharp edges, points or small parts before purchasing.
- Consider the construction of toys – are they sturdy enough for how they’ll be played with?
- Fabric toys should be labeled as flame resistant or retardant.
- Look for non-toxic labels, especially with art materials.
- Crayons and paints should have ATSM D-4236 labeling to signify that the gift meets the American Testing and Materials standards. You can review their standards here.
- Include safety gear when giving sports equipment.
Inspect the toys your children receive from others, as well, to ensure the suitability for their age and skill level. Toys are meant to be fun and are a vital part of our children’s development. Just a bit of awareness on our part as parents will go a long way toward keeping toys fun and safe.
One additional consideration to make as you shop for safe toys and gifts this season is to remember and give the gift of yourself to your children. Our children need their parents more than anything else. Sometimes the simplest activities can be better than another toy. Choose a book to curl up together and read or build a fort from the couch cushions. As we scurry to cross items off the gift list, let’s remember that the gift of love is the reason for the season. Lovingly keeping our children safe—that’s why we’re family, isn’t it?
If you do have a heath concern with your children this holiday season, don’t forget our Pediatric Care Unit at Sumner Regional Medical Center is ready to help with all your pediatric care needs.