Millions of children across the U.S. receive toys at this time of year, but parents should take care for safety.
The Prevent Blindness America calls December Safe Toys and Gifts Month. The reason it acknowledges this month every year is because U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data shows that hospital emergency rooms face hundreds of thousands of toy-related injuries in the United States. Insurance companies regularly receive claims for medical treatments resulting from those injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said 72 percent of those emergency room visits are kids.
In 2010, there were 251,700 toy-related injuries across the country that led to emergency room visits. Most of those were children under the age of 15 years. Safe Toys and Gifts Month throughout December is meant to help spread awareness of this important issue. The goal is to help parents to make more educated choices as to which toys to give their children and which ones they will allow their kids to have from among those given by well-intentioned friends and family members.
This year, Safe Toys and Gifts Month aims to draw attention to some of the most dangerous toys.
When taking into consideration that from January to December 2007, there were more than 19 million toys recalled around the world as a result of small magnets or lead paint and other serious concerns, it’s clear that this problem has yet to be corrected.
Though it is good that many of these products are being detected and recalled, it’s important to recognize that recalls often don’t occur until the toys have already been purchased and given to kids. Moreover, there is no guarantee that all parents will become advised of the recall.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to carefully consider each toy gift a child receives at this time of year as well as throughout the rest of the year. At a time when excitement is high and when it’s important for Santa to bring exactly what a child wants, it’s easy to forget that they can’t simply assume that a toy is safe just because it is being sold. Parents must consider the child’s age, individual abilities and skills, whether or not it has sharp pieces or pieces that can be swallowed and whether a toy could easily be broken or malfunction in a way that could cause harm.
This little bit of extra thought in honor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month can go a long way toward preventing emergency room visits and health insurance claims.