December is known as Toy Safety Month, especially with all of the toys which will be purchased this month for our little ones.
Tips for safe buying and playing include:
1. When shopping for toys, keep in mind the child’s age, interests and abilities.
2. Read toy or packaging labels for age ranges and safety warnings – and only choose toys that are appropriate for the age of the child.
3. Be especially careful when choosing toys for children under three. Select toys that are free of small pieces (or pieces that separate or can be broken off), are lightweight, have no sharp edges or points and are non-toxic.
4. At home, read instructions for assembly and use. Keep product literature in case of future questions and complete warranty cards.
5. Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before giving it to a child.
6. Consider the home environment in which a child will play with a toy and whether younger children may be there. A toy intended for an older child may be dangerous in the hands of a younger one.
7. Supervise children when they play and set good examples of safe play.
8. Remind caregivers, including grandparents, of play-related safety concerns.
9. Choose a safe storage place for toys.
10. Check toys at least every three months to determine their safety. Make any repairs immediately or throw away damaged toys.
I had to experience, as an ophthalmologist, an unfortunate incident several years ago while I was on trauma call for the Wichita area hospitals. A 14-year old girl was accidentally shot in her eye with a BB-bullet by her brother. The eye was beyond repair and had to be completely removed. Accidents happen unexpectedly, especially when children feel immortal and unconquerable. Such an accident will not only have an everlasting impact on the injured, but on the individual who caused the injury.
Therefore, during this shopping season, be aware of the toys and gifts which you will be purchasing. Have a safe and a joyous holiday season.