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December is Safe Toys and Gift Month

November 30, 2011

December is national Safe Toys and Gift Month.  As it is the holidays and many gifts will be given it is important to understand the safety and hazards of certain gifts.  Many toys now come with recommended age usage, as well as warnings.  But, there are some toys that the safety and hazards are not clearly labeled.  For instance a BB Gun needs to be worn with safety goggles, but rarely is the BB Gun sold with safety goggles.  Here are a few ways to buy and use toys safely.

There are a few basics.  One should always read the recommended age group and assess from there.  These labels are put on toys specifically to help a consumer. Secondly it is important to show your child how to use the toy properly.  Although it may obvious to us, it is not so obvious to children!  The third and more obvious one is to keep an eye on your child while they are playing with their toys, especially new ones!

Before even beginning your holiday shopping it is important as a parent, or consumer, to educate one self.  Toys are imported from other countries often and they may have different standards of production.  Older toys were made with high levels of lead and hand-to-mouth contact exposed children to this lead.  Check for any toys that are being recalled!

Before you buy a toy there are a few other labels to look out for.  If the box says ASTM it means that the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.  Also look out for any choking hazards!  Make sure there are no sharp edges (depending on the age).  Try to buy toys that seem durable and can withstand impact.  It seems as if some toys are not always used for their intended purpose and can be bashed around often.

Before letting your child play with the toy inspect it.  Inspect it for edges, broken parts, and any safety hazards.  Explain or show your child how to use it.  This way they can learn!  Train sets and such may need some explaining.  Lego’s can be hard to put together!

We love the holiday season, but we all want to avoid disasters.  Be smart about your shopping this holiday season and be aware of the safety of the toys you buy!

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