December is that time of the year when gifts for children come aplenty. However, so many of the millions of toy options on the current market pose some risks. It’s exactly because of this reason why December is not only the most festive time of the year, but also the designated National Safe Toys and Gifts Month.
Every year, it is estimated that over 250,000 kids receive treatments for injuries that are related to toys. Since a lot of toys are handed out during December, it can be expected during such month for ERs to be are jam-packed with kids requiring medical attention. Choking and eye injuries are some of the most common reasons why kids are rushed to hospitals.
So before you start shopping for toys, continue reading. The following are some tips on how you can put smiles on the faces of kids this Holiday season without putting them in some form of danger:
Opt for toys that are appropriate for their age
Before you place anything in your shopping cart, always read the packaging. It should state for which age group of children the item is suitable. Never give a 1-year-old child with a toy that is intended by the manufacturer for kids aged 6 and above!
Ensure that it does not contain dangerous chemicals
One of the most important things that you should look for on the packaging of a toy is the word “non-toxic”. This is very important to do most especially if you are shopping for arts and crafts supplies for kids, such as crayons and glue. Also, see to it that the toy does not contain lead-based paint, which is a chemical that is very harmful for children and adults alike.
Always check the quality of the product
Refrain from surprising kids with toys that are constructed poorly, and are out of materials that can be easily damaged. These products can easily end up broken, and those small jagged pieces can cut the skin or get in the eyes of children. Remember to look for stamps, seals or labels stating that the product you are looking at has met quality standards. For instance, if you are in the US, look for “ATSM” on the packaging. It stands for American Society for Testing and Materials, and its presence on the packaging means that the product has been carefully inspected by the said agency.
Take a quick look at the instructions
If you cannot understand the instructions printed on or included with the packaging, place it back on the shelf right away. Also, it is a wonderful idea for you to guide the recipient of the gift on how to play with it properly — so do your assignment before handing it out!
Never buy anything that has small or sharp parts
Ensure that the toy that you are about to pay for contains no parts that can cause injury to the skin and eyes, and can be accidentally swallowed by young ones. Refrain from giving away anything with magnets or which uses button batteries. As a general rule of thumb, you should not buy any toy containing parts that can fit inside a toilet paper tube.
Pair sporting equipment with protective gears
If you are planning on surprising a child with a sport-related gift like a skateboard, bicycle or baseball bat, consider pairing the item with the necessary safety or protective gears such as helmets, knee pads and others. Make sure that they are specifically made for it, too!
Read consumers news and reports online
Spend some time in front of your computer visiting consumer watchdog websites. In there you can come across important news such as product recalls — some stores are slow to pull out from their shelves toys that have been recalled by manufacturers or the government. It is also a wonderful idea to check out ratings and reviews made by consumers for your utmost peace of mind.