December is Safe Toys and Gifts MonthPosted on 12/8/2011
December is a time filled with holiday cheer and gift exchange. While it is important to enjoy fun times with family and friends during the holiday season, it is also critical to be sure the gifts you give and receive are safe. Especially with children, it is very important to consider the safety and age appropriateness of a gift.
Particularly with children under the age of 3, choking can be a major hazard. Before purchasing any gifts, check the label on the box to determine the age range of children who can safely play with the toy. It is recommended that any toys for young children should be 1.75 inches or larger in diameter. To ensure children’s safety, supervising play is essential because children can squeeze or break toys into smaller pieces that can be choked on.
To ensure toys sold in America are safe for children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) closely monitors and regulates toys. Any toys made in or imported into the United States must comply with CPSC standards. Check the CPSC website periodically to stay up to date on the latest safety precautions and recalls on toys and stay informed about what is safe for children to play with.
According to Kids’ Health, toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant and any stuffed toys should be washable. All painted toys should state that they are painted with lead free paint. Art materials should say they are nontoxic and crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on their package, which means they have been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Keep these guidelines in mind this holiday season when selecting gifts for the children you love. Best wishes from the Steuben Rural Health Network for a happy and safe holiday season!