An initiative of the group Prevent Blindness America, Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month encourages everyone to consider the age- and ability-appropriateness of all gifts during the holiday season — especially when shopping for infants and children under age three.
When choosing toys, Prevent Blindness America suggests adhering to the following guidelines:
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
- Ask yourself if the toy is right for the individual child’s ability and age.
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or dangerous edges.
- Check the lenses and frames of children’s sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
- Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
- Look for the letters ASTM. This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.
Before letting children play with toys:
- Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction.
- Explain how to use the toy.
- Fix or throw away broken toys.
- Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.
- Supervise children while playing.
- Store toys properly after play to avoid risks or falls.
- Supervise children’s craft projects (scissors and glue can be extremely dangerous to a child’s eyesight).
- Have children wear the right eye protection for sports (face shields, helmets, eyeguards).
More helpful tips for toy safety can be found at kidshealth.org, including guides on toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and school-age children. From all of us at Mercy Urgent Care, have a safe and happy holiday season!