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Tips and Precautions for Toy Safety this Holiday Season

Posted Dec 20 2008 6:43pm

In the much-loved movie “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie sets out to convince the world that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect gift.

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” was the response he got from his parents, teacher, and even Santa Claus. It’s one of the more hilarious and memorable quotes from this Christmas classic because we’ve all heard it repeatedly during our childhood. But unfortunately, it comes true for too many people.

Common Sense, Training and Awareness are Key to Safety with Toys
We all know that “Christmas is for kids,” and that one of the best things about the holiday season are the smiles on the faces of tiny tots when they see the year’s new toys. It’s important for parents and gift-givers to take the time to read age-appropriate labels when choosing toys, as this information could save a child’s life or save them from injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an average of 144,000 children are, treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for toy-related injuries.

In the last few years the CPSC required labels to be put on all toys marketed for children from 3 to 6 years old if the toys pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. These labels let you know that a toy is not safe for younger children and why. Before CPSC issued these requirements, it was more difficult for consumers to know whether toys for older children could be a danger to younger kids.

The following tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys for children this holiday season:
· Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skill, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
· For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
· For all children under the age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges, points, or long strings.
· Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
· Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
· Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, nose, and other potential small parts.
· Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately, before they become deadly playthings.
· Teach and train the children how the product works so that they can use it appropriately.

By using common sense and these safety suggestions, holiday shoppers can make informed decisions when purchasing toys for children.

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