The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that hospital emergency rooms across the country treat more than 200,000 toy-related injuries each year.
Because the most commonly injured part of the body is the head and face area, Prevent Blindness America developed a list of gift-buying tips to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone.
Before purchasing a toy:
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
- Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child's ability and age.
- 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.
- Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
- Look for the letters "ASTM." This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball).
- Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the 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 this can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
- Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.