12/11/12 The holiday season is a time for celebrating and giving gifts. However, some toys and gifts can pose a hazard for children. December is National Toys and Gifts Safety Month and State health officials want to remind parents to take care when buying toys and gifts for children and adolescents.
“It is important to buy toys that are appropriate for the child’s age and development level,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the Indiana State Department of Health. “Toys intended for older children can prove life-threatening in the hands of a toddler.”
In 2010, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 251,700 toy-related injuries and 72 percent of those injured were under the age of 15.
The CPSC has put together four simple tips to consider when purchasing toys to ensure a safe holiday:
- For children younger than age 3, toys with small parts can cause choking. To determine whether a toy poses a choking risk, try fitting it through a toilet paper roll. If a toy or part of a toy can fit inside the cylinder, it’s not safe.
- Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the child.
- For children younger than age 8, avoid toys with sharp edges and electric toys with heating parts.
- Look for labels with age and safety advice, and use these as a starting point when selecting toys.
Safety doesn’t end once the gifts are unwrapped and ready to be enjoyed. Keep wrapping and packaging materials away from little hands by immediately discarding once gifts have been opened. When play time has begun, supervise children to make sure they are using their gifts appropriately. Safety gear, including helmets, pads and protective eyewear should be used when playing with sports-related or riding gifts, such as scooters and bicycles.
For more information about toy safety, visit CPSC at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/toy_sfy.html.
To learn more about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov.