Prevent Blindness Declares December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

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CHICAGO – With the holiday shopping season underway, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness month, to help shoppers select the best gifts for children. 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 ag

For those considering purchasing sports equipment, Prevent Blindness suggests that proper sports eye protection also be included. Recommendations may be found here.

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 that buyers ensure the toy is right for the child's ability and age and that they consider whether other smaller children may be in the home and may have access to the toy. They suggest to avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges and to buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards. Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off and read all warnings and instructions on the bo, they add.

“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.

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, please visit Prevent Blindness' Safe Toy Checklist.