December is a month for extra shopping and wrapping up gifts for kids you love to put under the tree. However, did you know that toys can sometimes be quite dangerous for kids under the age of 14? It’s true – Prevent Blindness America reports that thousands of children end up in emergency rooms throughout the country around the holidays, thanks to toy related injuries.  We are all reminded every Christmas about the risk of Ralphie shooting his eye out.  Fortunately, you can reduce the chance of blindness or other injury for the children you are purchasing gifts for by following a few safety tips.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created a robust toy safety system, by requiring testing by independent, third party testing laboratories around the world.  The CPSC provides free safety alerts, guides, posters, brochures, handbooks and other materials which you can use to help spread consumer product safety information in your community.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you hit the toy store this year.

Look for age appropriate labels
In order to reduce the chance of injury, take the age recommendations on the toy packaging seriously. Don’t purchase a toy that is made for 10-year-olds for your toddler nephew. Instead, look for a more age appropriate toy. Not only will your nephew be able to play with it more, you won’t run the risk of an unintentional injury.

Heed warnings
Take a look at the toy you are purchasing and read any warnings carefully. Don’t purchase a toy that looks like it could hurt the child you are buying it for. While you are reviewing the box, look also for a sign that the toy has passed inspection from a credible source, such as the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). Finally, assure that items are listed as nontoxic.

Demonstrate safe use
Once your toy has been unwrapped, take time to demonstrate safe use to the child. Use this time to have fun together, while also explaining safety. Once you demonstrate how to use it, ask the child to show you as well to assure safety.

Know what to do in case of emergency
Finally, be sure that you know what to do in case of emergency. If a loved one has suffered an injury, get them to the hospital or clinic for prompt medical treatment.  If you have any questions about any toys or products that may have caused the injury, give our office a call. We know how to advocate for our clients and are ready to navigate the sometimes frustrating world of insurance and consumer protection on your behalf.

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!