FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information:
Prevent Blindness Ohio
Phone: 800-301-2020 ext. 105
Non-profit Group Provides Tips on How to Purchase Safe Toys and Gifts for Kids
Columbus, OH (December 5, 2012)– Thanks to the many avenues available to consumers to do their holiday shopping, online sales websites and retailers are offering a variety of bargains to get an edge on the competition. But sometimes, the best deal may not be the safest. Prevent Blindness Ohiowants everyone to make sure that all gifts purchased, especially for children, are safe.
In 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 262,300 toy-related injuries. Of that number, 74 percent of injuries were to those less than 15 years of age. Additionally, the CPSC found that 45 percent of the estimated ER-treated injuries occurred to the head and face area. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions made up most of these injuries.
“In order to spend the holidays with family and friends, instead of in the emergency room, we must be diligent in making sure our children are protected,” said Sherry Williams, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. “We all need to make a conscious effort to think about the gifts we are buying to make sure they are appropriate for every child’s age and development level.”
Prevent Blindness Ohiohas declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month in an effort to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone. The group offers toy-buying and gift-giving tips to all those planning to purchase a gift for a child this year.
Prevent Blindness Ohio suggests:
Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child. Be diligent about inspecting these gifts before allowing your child to play with them.
Inspect all toys before purchasing. Monitor toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.
Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball).
Avoid toys that shoot projectiles such as toy guns – they contribute to a large number of serious eye injuries and can rob children of their sight.
For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are secured within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
Any toy that is labeled “supervision required” must always be used in the presence of an adult. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.
Always save the warranties and directions for every toy. If possible, include a gift receipt. Repair or throw away damaged toys.
Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.
Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the 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 they can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately. According to the CPSC, more children have suffocated from them than any other type of toy.
Visit preventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklistfor information about safe gift-buying for children this season.
For more information on safe toys and gifts for children as well as general children’s eye health topics, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at 800-301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.
About Prevent Blindness Ohio
Prevent Blindness Ohio, founded in 1957, is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. Prevent Blindness Ohio is an affiliate of Prevent Blindness America, the country’s second-oldest national voluntary health organization. For more information or to make a donation call 800-301-2020 or visit us on the web at pbohio.org.
2012 SAFE TOYS TALKING POINTS
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries, Calendar Year 2011 report:
In 2011, there were an estimated 262,300 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. The 2010 estimate was 251,700.
Of the 262,300 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, an estimated 193,200 (74 percent) happened to children younger than 15 years of age; an estimated 184,100 (70 percent) occurred to children 12 years of age or younger; while an estimated 92,200 (35 percent) happened to children younger than 5 years of age.
44 percent of the estimated emergency department-treated injuries are classified as lacerations, contusions, or abrasions.
Forty-five percent of the estimated injuries were to the head and face area, the most commonly affected area of the body.
Prevent Blindness America recommends the following:
· Inspect toys for safe construction. Products given to young children should be made of durable plastic or wood with no sharp edges or points. The toys should be able to withstand impact. Avoid purchasing toys with small parts for young children, as they tend to put items in their mouths, increasing their risk of choking.
· Check your children’s toys regularly for broken parts. Throw broken toys out immediately if they cannot be safely repaired. Older kids often alter their toys and misuse them, making them unsafe. It is better to be vigilant, even with older kids, so that serious eye injuries can be prevented.
· Read the instructions and the suggested age level on the packaging. Assess whether the item is appropriate for the child’s ability and age. Age labeling is provided not just for developmental reasons, but for safety reasons as well.
· Avoid toys that shoot projectiles such as toy guns – they contribute to a large number of serious eye injuries and can rob children of their sight.
· Look for the symbol ASTM F963. This indicates the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
· Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child.
· Stay aware of recalled products. Large toy retailers post regular notices of recalled toys, usually at the front of stores. Take recalled products back to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. For further information on toy and product recalls, visit the U.S. Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov.