Safe Toys and Gifts Month: Keeping Our Children Safe

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This post is brought to you by Baptist Health South Florida. 

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month. The focus is to raise awareness to reduce accidents and injuries in children from unsafe and inappropriate toys and gifts.

Safe Toys and Gifts Month: Keeping Our Children Safe During the Holidays Zoe Costa Contributor Miami Mom Collective
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Did you know that December is known to be the biggest gift-giving month in the world?! And rightfully so with all the holiday celebrations and gift exchanges that happen throughout December. However, it is important to keep in mind proper safety measures. Especially with the little ones in your life such as infants and children under 3 years old.

Unfortunately, every year throughout December thousands of children are injured as a result of playing with unsafe or non-age-appropriate toys. According to Baptist Health South Florida, in 2017 the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that approximately 251,700 individuals were treated in the emergency room for toy-related injuries!

Safe Toys and Gifts Month was created to bring a happy, healthy, and safe gift-giving experience for all involved. For preventative measures, it is so important that we are careful when making our toy and gift choices.

As a mom, I was shocked when I read the report by Baptist Health when they stated that CPSC does not test all toys! Additionally, not all products that you would find online or in stores meet the safety standards. According to Baptist Health, safety issues with toys often only become known after a child has been reported hurt.

We need to keep in mind two main things: is the toy safe, and is the toy or gift suitable for the age of the child?

Knowing what to look out for can make a big difference in preventing injuries from well-intentioned gifts. Most times shoppers may forget about safety precautions when it comes to purchasing a child’s toys and gifts. Ultimately, it is up to the parent or the caregiver of the child to examine the safety and age range of the toys being selected.

Safe Toys and Gifts Month: Keeping Our Children Safe During the Holidays Zoe Costa Contributor Miami Mom Collective
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

Choking hazards

One of the major risks, when children are playing with toys, is choking hazards, especially in children under the age of 3 years old. Make sure to keep any small items out of the reach of infants and children under the age of 3.

Check the label

Make sure to follow age guidelines and other safety information on packaging. Age grading is based on safety concerns and the toy’s developmental appropriateness for children. Also, check for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) label, which means the toy has met national safety standards.

Emphasis on child supervision

Even though toy manufacturers have come a long way in making products that are safe for kids to enjoy, the best way to manage and reduce risk is to have an attentive adult watching.

Zoe Costa Contributor Miami Mom Collective
Photo by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

Check the toys for small parts including magnets or small button batteries.

This can cause serious injury or death if ingested. Young children tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. High-powered magnet sets are a safety risk to children. A good rule of thumb is if the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for children under the age of three.

Make sure the toys do not contain lead.

It is so important to educate yourself about lead poisoning. Become aware of the symptoms of lead poisoning from toys, and what toys have been recalled. If you suspect your child was exposed to lead seek medical help immediately.

Carefully inspect the toys your child receives.

Make sure the item is for the age, skill level, and proper developmental stage of the child before allowing them to played with the toy.

Also, check that stuffed toys have age-appropriate features such as embroidered or secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play.

Do not give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.

If the child is receiving sports equipment:

Make sure it is always accompanied by protective gear (for example a helmet with a bicycle). Helmets should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.

Ensure that Crayons and markers are nontoxic.

Know your seller. Purchase toys from retailers you know and trust.

Safe Toys and Gifts Month: Keeping Our Children Safe During the Holidays Zoe Costa Contributor Miami Mom Collective

Other safety tips to keep in mind during this holiday season:

Inspect all toys before purchasing. Make sure the toy has no sharp edges or points. The toy should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.

When purchasing safe toys for children with special needs, try to choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture. Also, consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others. Think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it.

Let’s take preventative measures to keep our little ones safe during the holidays.

Baptist Health recommends that as parents we need to stay vigilant and assume that a toy is not safe. We want to make the month of December a magical experience and prevent trips to the emergency room. It is also important to be aware of the risks. Knowing what to look out for in regards to safe toys can make a big difference in preventing injury throughout the holidays.

For more information visit the Baptist Health website.

Click here to find a Baptist Health Urgent Care Center near you. 

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Dr. Costa is a military spouse who is currently stationed in Miami, FL. Her husband serves Active Duty in the the Coast Guard. Together they have two beautiful girls who are 6 and 3 yrs old. Moving every 3-4yrs made it challenging to pursue her career as a chiropractor, due to her husband’s job. Together, they made the difficult decision to pause her career until both of her girls were in school. Dr. Costa had the opportunity to share her knowledge and love of the human body teaching anatomy and physiology at the college level when stationed in Long Island, NY. Since moving to The Sunshine State, she has dedicated and focused her time to raising her daughters while working part-time as an online health and fitness coach. Dr. Costa continues to educate her clients on how to live healthy and fulfilling lives through proper nutrition and fitness. Follow along with her at survivalofthefittish_mom on Instagram to stay connected.