Prevent Blindness Names December Safe Toys And Gifts Awareness Month

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CHICAGO—This year, Prevent Blindness has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. In 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries treated in United States hospital emergency departments, with an estimated 80,100 of these injuries on children younger than five. 45% of the total injuries were to the head and face area. These statistics show that consumers should keep eye safety in mind when shopping for kids this holiday season. To help them do that, Prevent Blindness has dedicated an entire month to Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness, and has complied some important tips for ensuring safety while shopping.

Prevent Blindness’ essential tips include:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your 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.
  • Check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries. Make sure they have UV-blocking lenses.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.
  • Do not give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If any 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 these can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
  • Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
  • Do not purchase toys with small magnets. Magnets, like those found in magnetic building sets and other toys, can be extremely harmful if swallowed. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a child may have swallowed a magnet.
Keeping these tips in mind will help shoppers make sure they’re purchasing eye safe toys for the important kids in their lives. Shoppers can also use Prevent Blindness’ Safe Toy Checklist to help them shop, as well as their recommendations for sports eye protection if buying sports equipment. Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness said, “The Holidays should always be a time of joy and togetherness of family and friends, not spent in the emergency room. By taking the time to find the most appropriate gifts for children, these moments will be memorable for the best reasons.”