It’s that time of year again; holiday gift giving is upon us, and if you have a baby or toddler on your shopping list, toy safety should be your highest priority.
December is Safe Toys and Gifts month, and Sandhills Regional Medical Center’s ER Extra program is sharing some tips to ensure that the gifts you purchase for the kids in your life are safe.
Step 1: Determine whether or not a toy is age appropriate.
This guideline can go a long way in keeping children safe. Thanks to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, most toys are clearly labeled for age appropriateness.
Don’t be tempted to buy a toy for a child younger than the labeling recommends, as the designation is determined by safety factors – not the intelligence or maturity of the child. For example, tiny pieces are choking hazards, and therefore, each toy is labeled for a specific reason.
Step 2: Research toy safety online first.
Researching toy safety online before you head to the store will save you time and effort. SafeKids.org keeps an easily accessible list of recalled toys and items organized by month.
To sign up for monthly email alerts on their website, visit www.SafeKids.org/our-work/recalls/2011.
Step 3: Be aware of proper safety equipment.
If you are planning to give an action-oriented gift, make sure to be aware of the following recommended safety measures:
• Helmets are a must for bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and scooters. Knee pads and wrist guards are also recommended.
• BB guns and pellet rifles should never be given to children under 16.
• Toy guns should be brightly colored, as to not be mistaken for real firearms.
• Darts and arrows should have suction cups or soft tips.
Additionally, children should be taught never to point these types of toys directly at anyone or anything.
Step 4: Batteries battened down.
If a battery is punctured, swallowed, or aged, it can leak harmful materials. Therefore, look for toys that have batteries safely secured in a locked battery compartment. Most toys these days come with a screw top lid and, therefore, reduce risk of exposure.
Overall, supervising children during their play time is the best way to keep them safe. However, by following these guidelines, you will ensure that your gift at playtime will provide a safe and happy time by all.
— ER Extra is a revolutionary emergency room experience at Sandhills Regional Medical Center that spends more time focusing on your care and less time with typical hospital ER hassles.