Buy safe, play safe!
Published 11:54 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Can you believe it’s Christmas?
Christmas is the season of giving, family gatherings, and joy. And it can also be a time of anxiousness and stress when looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones. But too often, we hear of stories of children injured by toys that were well-intended to inspire imaginations and bring entertainment. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 198,000 children in the U.S. were injured in toy-related accidents this past year, and 51 children died from these incidents from 2018 to 2020.
So how can you keep those around toys safe?
The best tip for keeping your little person safe is to plan. Last-minute shopping can lead to snap decisions made without much thought to potential hazards. While we intend for our children to have hours of fun playing with their toys, safety must always come first. Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. However, some toys can cause severe injury or even death.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
Age appropriate. When choosing the ideal toy for your child, first consider the age and temperament of your child and the activities they love. Next, look for age recommendations on the toy’s packaging, including hazard warnings and instructions on your child’s ability to understand how to use the toy. Even if a child is advanced for their age, they should not use toys meant for older kids.
Large toys. Avoid choking by making sure the toys/parts are too large to fit in your child’s mouth.
Toys that shoot. Avoid buying toys that shoot things through the air, as they can cause eye injury.
Loud toys. Be protective of your child’s hearing when purchasing toys that produce sound.
Construction. Check for loose parts, relaxed seams, removable ribbons, and strings. Reinforce or remove things that can come loose during use. And never buy toys for toddlers that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing.
Toxic materials. Read that label carefully, and do not purchase anything constructed with poisonous material. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
Science kits. Avoid hobby kits for children under the age of 12 years. These sets often include dangerous chemicals and can produce fires and small explosions. And if you do purchase one of these kits, supervision is essential, even for your older children.
Electric toys. Check the label to be sure the toy is UL approved.
Crib toys. This advice may sound like common sense, but do not place any object that can cause suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment in the crib. Install hanging toys like mobiles and crib gyms out of your child’s reach. These toys can strangle a baby.
No Heat. Don’t buy toys with electric heating elements.
Magnetic toys. While magnetic toys can provide much fun for kids, loose magnets and high-powered rare earth magnets are among the most dangerous products sold and can be life-threatening if swallowed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends families with children not to have high-powered magnet sets in their homes. And if you do, get rid of them or place them out of sight and reach. ALWAYS supervise young children carefully when they are using magnets.
WHAT IF YOUR CHILD SWALLOWS A MAGNET?
Contact your pediatrician or the closest emergency department ASAP. Delay of treatment may lead to extreme injuries to your child’s digestive tract or even death.
Keep Toys Safe at Home. You’ve done your homework and bought safe toys, but it’s also essential that your kids know how to use them—instructing your children on the proper use of the toy teaches them how to use them while having fun safely.
Good safety provisions include:
- Regularly check toys for broken or dangerously worn parts
- Repair toys right away and discard those that are beyond repair
- Stuffed toys shouldn’t have broken seams or loose parts
- Outdoor toys should not have rust
- Keep outdoor toys out of the weather when not in use
Keep your children’s toys clean. Many plastic toys can be washed in the dishwasher but check that they are dishwasher safe. You can also use antibacterial soap and hot water in a spray bottle to clean toys after your child plays with them.
Look for Standards. Look for “ASTM.” This acronym on toys means that the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Once again, be sure to read any warning labels before buying toys. And check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website (https://www.cpsc.gov/) for a list of recalled toys and alerts.
At St. Luke’s, we’ve been consumed with working harder to keep you safer against the pandemic. For us, 2021 flew by, and now we find the holiday season is upon us. It’s time to find the right gifts and words! Kind words cost nothing, yet their impact can be endless. So, send your warmest, handwritten wishes to your loved ones, and you may touch someone for a lifetime!
by Michelle Fortune
If you have a healthcare topic of interest, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit StLukesNC.org to learn about top-rated St. Luke’s Hospital and our new world-class services.