Last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report stating there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Forty-four percent of the estimated injuries were to the head and face area, the most commonly affected area of the body.
According to the CPSC, of the 251,700 estimated toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, an estimated:
- 184,000 (73 percent) happened to children younger than 15 years of age;
- 174,300 (69 percent) occurred to children 12 years of age or younger;
- 89,800 (36 percent) happened to children younger than 5 years of age
Prevent Blindness has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness month, to help shoppers select the best gifts for children.
For those considering purchasing sports equipment, Prevent Blindness suggests that proper sports eye protection also be included. Recommendations may be found at www.preventblindness.org/recommended-sports-eye-protectors.
Sunglasses with UV protection can be a helpful gift for adults and children. Only buy sunglasses that provide a clear statement about how much UV radiation is blocked. The label should clearly state the sunglasses block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
For all other gift ideas, Prevent Blindness recommends:
- Ensure the toy is right for the child’s ability and age. Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home and may have access to the toy.
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
- Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
“By taking a few cautionary steps to give gifts that are meaningful, safe and age-appropriate for children, you can help make sure that the holidays are festive and bright,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.