December is the biggest gift-giving month of the year. Everyone wants to find and give a great gift. But besides searching for the perfect present for your little ones, it is just as important to keep safety in mind while you’re shopping.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2020 there were 9 deaths and nearly 150,000 toy-related emergency room visits for children ages 14 and younger. Most of the injuries and deaths were associated with choking hazards, mostly because of small toy parts. Although toy safety has improved throughout the years, shoppers should still take precautions to keep children safe.
In recent years, the CPSC has implemented a stringent standards system that requires a third party to independently test toy safety in laboratories across the globe. This includes enforcing the percentage of lead and phthalates used in toys and stopping dangerous and violent toys at the ports and in the marketplace before they end up in little hands.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
- Inspect toys before purchasing them. Avoid toys with sharp edges, a multitude of little parts, and/or parts such as buttons that can be easily pulled off which become choking hazards.
- Look at the age and skill level marked on the packaging. Only buy age-appropriate even if you think a child is more mature. The guidelines are placed for good reason.
- Check the label. All toys should have an American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) to show it meets proper standards.
- Avoid all toys that with ropes and cords as well as crayons and markers unless they are labeled nontoxic. Other toys to avoid with children younger than eight years old are balloons which can choke or suffocate. This also includes deflated balloons which should be immediately discarded. High-powered magnet sets should always be kept away from small children too.
- Be wary of electric toys. These require close supervision.
- Give safety gear like helmets and knee pads if you are giving a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter.
It’s a Wrap
Upon opening gifts, immediately discard all plastic wrapping and any other toy packaging which can become dangerous playthings if not thrown away. Any toys requiring battery charging should be supervised and done by a trusted adult as chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards.
It’s easy to get swept up in the magic of the holidays, but the gift of safety ensures a happy and healthy holiday season. Dr. Erickson - Interventional Pain Physician wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday and a happy new year.
Dr. Erickson - Interventional Pain Physician are here to make your healthcare journey simple and bring further awareness to the community. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.