This season, make sure safety is at the top of your holiday shopping list. According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission there was an increase in toy-related injuries in 2011, with an estimated 262,300 children treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms across the United States. The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services’ Safe Kids program has provided the following tips to help shoppers buy age-appropriate toys and following important toy safety guidelines.
Top tips for making sure children’s toys are safe during this holiday season are:
- Before shopping for toys, consider the child’s age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.
- Make sure toys intended for older children are stored separately from those for younger children.
- Children can choke on small toys and toy parts. Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3, and check toys regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards.
- Avoid letting children play with electronic devices that are only intended for adults such as key fobs, mini remote controls, watches, flameless candles, singing greeting cards, etc. Many of these items contain coin-sized button batteries, which can be deadly if ingested, and should be kept out of reach if battery compartments are not secure.
If secondhand toys are purchased, or received from friends or relatives, Safe Kids Howard County advises parents to visit www.cpsc.gov and make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Used toys should also be in good condition with all original parts and packaging, if possible. If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled. To stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace, parents can go to www.recalls.gov and sign up for email alerts on recalled children’s products. In a poison emergency, call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information about holiday safety, call 410-313-6090 or visit www.safekids.org.