grandparents hugging their grandchildren

December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. Due to the winter holidays, many families buy a lot of toys and other gifts for their children.

The amount of toys being advertised and sold this time of year makes it more important than ever to be aware of health and safety when it comes to toys. Not every toy is necessarily safe for your child, even if it’s sold legitimately.

But as long as you’re careful about what toys you buy, you can keep your family safe this holiday season. Just be sure when you buy a gift for your child that you ask yourself these questions:

Is the Toy Age Appropriate?

Most toys have a label saying what age range the toy is best for. It’s always safest to buy toys that are in your child’s age range, especially if they’re under three.

Toys that say they’re for children three and up usually have small parts that can be a choking hazard. Be sure to check the recommended age range for any toy you buy.

Have You Inspected the Toy?

If you’re buying a toy in a store, you should look it over to make sure there aren’t any sharp parts or detachable parts your child could injure themselves on. When buying online, check reviews and look out for the ones that include pictures or any details about the toy’s safety features.

You should also look at reviews for any toy that runs on chargeable batteries. See if you can find out if the toy heats up while it’s charging.

If it does, it may not be safe. Being thorough with your research before buying a toy can save you the time of having to return a toy that may not be safe.

Are the Materials in the Toy Safe?

When buying any toy, make sure there’s an ASTM sticker. This indicates the materials in the toy are approved by the American Society of Testing Materials.

This will let you know the materials are safe. Also, when buying art supplies like markers and paint, only buy them if they’re labelled as non-toxic.

Does the Toy Need Safety Equipment?

If you’re buying something like a bike, scooter, or skateboard for your child, make sure you include safety equipment. A helmet is most important, but for rollerblades and skateboards especially, knee and elbow pads are also good to have.

If you’re buying your child sports gear like baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, or even a trampoline, make sure you have the right safety equipment for them as well.

Does the Toy Fire Projectiles?

For toy guns and other toys that fire a projectile, be very careful. Anything that fires an object, even a soft dart, can end up hitting someone in the eye.

Thousands of children end up in the hospital due to toy-related injuries every year. This is often due to getting hit in the eye with something.

Unless your child is older, responsible, and doesn’t use the toy to hit other children or people, it’s safest to skip any toy guns, sling shots, or bows.

Want to keep your family’s eyes safe and sound this holiday season? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME now!