A Guide for Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Avoid Injuries Associated With Unsafe Toys
Tis the season for giving, December is a special month as there are many religious and cultural celebrations this time of year. Because of this, the tradition of gifting our loved ones this time of year as a way to show our love and appreciation has become widespread.
We at Altus Emergency Centers would also like to show our appreciation for the loving support we have received from the communities we serve this year, and taking advantage of December being Safe Toys and Gift Month, we have prepared a simple safe toys guide for holiday gift shopping.
According to the latest report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries were treated in Emergency Rooms across the country in 2016. This highlights the importance of gifting safe toys this Holiday Season.
What to look for and what to avoid when buying toys?
Most of the toy-related injuries reported to the CPSC last year were children under the age of 15, and 39% of these injuries were due to lacerations, contusions, or abrasions.
New toys are constantly entering the market, we recommend you follow a watchdog site to receive updates on recalled toys, so you can avoid purchasing them or return them if you already have.
The Safe Toys Guide: What to Look For
It’s important to acknowledge that unless you know what to look for, it’s difficult to know the difference between the safe toys and gifts and the potentially dangerous ones. Please read the following to be aware:
- Always look for the “ATSM” label on toys, having this label means the toy has passed the standards set by the American Society of Testing Materials.
- If your gift includes art supplies these should be labeled as non-toxic.
- Read labels to ensure toys do not contain led paint.
- Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Make sure the label on any stuffed animals indicates it can be washed.
- Always make sure you are gifting a toy appropriate for the child’s age, maturity, and abilities.
- Always read the warnings and safety precautions that come with the toys.
The “Bad Toys” – What to Avoid
- Toys with sharp edges, or those with spikes, rods, or dangerous rigid points.
- Projectile toys or those that include flying parts as these can cause unintentional injuries. Remember that BB guns are not toys. If you insist purchasing one, be mindful if the child’s age and never leave them unsupervised.
- Only buy toys that will withstand impact, if you fear the material might break into dangerous shards do not buy it.
- Avoid excessively loud toys, if the sound is too loud it could damage your child’s ears.
- Avoid toys with long pull strings, try keeping these to less than 7 inches.
- If you have children under the age of 3 avoid any toys with small parts that they can put in their mouths
Most Common Toy Injuries in Children
The risk of not heeding the warnings associated with Safe Toys and Gifts Month are many. According to the CPSC report, the top toy categories that are related to injuries in children are:
- Nonmotorized Scooters which accounts for 20% of all reported injuries in 2016.
- Toys Not Specified were responsible for 24% of all incidents reported last year.
- Toy Balls accounted for 9% of injuries
- Toy Vehicles caused 6% of the injuries
Top Toy Related Injuries Resulting in Trips to the ER
The most common injuries attended by emergency room medical staff last year were:
- Contusions and Abrasions
- Strains and Sprains
- Internal Injuries
- Ingestion of toys or toy parts
- Puncture Injuries
Toy Gifting Safety Tips
Buying the perfect gift involves a lot more than just buying the most popular toy this season. The gift of safety is priceless, and it doesn’t require much work, all you need to do is follow these Safe Toys and Gifts Tips:
- Buy age-appropriate toys, all toys describe the age they are appropriate for, even video games.
- Do your homework, investigate which toys are not considered safe and avoid those.
- Read all the warning labels and follow the precautions that accompany the toy.
- Learn how to properly use the toy, and then teach your kids how to do use it.
- Buy quality toys, we know they might be more expensive, but good quality materials are less likely to break and cause injury.
- Have an adult present when children are opening their gifts, inspect the toy to ensure it is safe before allowing your kids to play with it.
- If you are giving or have received edible gifts, beware of ingredients that may trigger allergies or food sensitivity symptoms.
- Ask your friends and family to place their presents in a safe place where children cannot grab them.
Altus Emergency Centers is here for you 24/7 during all of the holidays. We implore you to keep these toy safety tips in mind to help avoid a possible injury. However, if your child sustains any type of injury or any other type of emergency situation please visit your nearest Altus ER. We provide the very best medical emergency care in the most urgent of situations.