During the Holiday rush, gift buying can be hectic. But before purchasing any gifts for children, Prevent Blindness, the nations’ oldest non-profit eye health organization, recommends buyers make safety the priority.
Last year, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report stating that there were an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. An estimated 80,100 of those injuries were to children younger than age 5. And, 45 percent (or 107,400) of the total injuries were to the head and face area, the area of the body with the most injuries.
To help shoppers select appropriate gifts this holiday season, Prevent Blindness has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness month and offers tips including:
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
- Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age. Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home and may have access to the toy.
- 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. Make sure they have UV-blocking lenses.
- Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.
- Do not give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If any part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
- Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as these can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
- Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
- Do not purchase toys with small magnets. Magnets, like those found in magnetic building sets and other toys, can be extremely harmful if swallowed. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a child may have swallowed a magnet.
If purchasing sports items or equipment, such as basketball, baseball or hockey, Prevent Blindness suggests that the proper sports eye protection is also included. Recommendations may be found at www.preventblindness.org/recommended-sports-eye-protectors.
“The Holidays should always be a time of joy and togetherness of family and friends, not spent in the emergency room,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “By taking the time to find the most appropriate gifts for children, these moments will be memorable for the best reasons.”
For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, please visit preventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklist or call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness.