To help shoppers select appropriate gifts this holiday season, Prevent Blindness has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness month and offers tips including:
- Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
- Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the 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.
- Ensure all art materials are labeled as “nontoxic.”
- 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 ASTM International.
- 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.
- Ensure any batteries are securely in place.
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
- Always supervise children and demonstrate to them how to use their toys safely.
- If purchasing sunglasses, make sure they are labeled as 100 percent UV-blocking.
Sports equipment is a popular gift idea. Prevent Blindness suggests that the proper sports eye protection is also included. Recommendations may be found at www.preventblindness.org/recommended-sports-eye-protectors.
“By taking a few simple steps when shopping for the perfect gift, we can help to make sure that the holidays are safe and memorable,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.
For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, please visitpreventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklist. For more information on sports eye protection and safety, please visit www.preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness.