Safety is a BIG concern for us all – 24/7.   Whether we are the Grandparent, parent, cousin, aunt, teacher, mother or father, there’s a common hope: we all want our precious ones to be safe and out of harm’s way.   This is a legitimate stress. And believe it or not, the holiday season is a time when most accidents occur, especially when it comes to children’s toys and food related injuries. So, here we are just sending along a friendly reminder we hope you will pass along to everyone.  After all, none of us are too old or too wise NOT to be reminded.

Take a moment to make a safety check of toys – RIGHT NOW – boy, will you rest better

First, make sure that all toys exchanged or received are age appropriate.  Okay, we know sometimes we want to buy something and are fully aware we are stretching the age suggestions regarding the toys.  But don’t do it, and do not let your impulses cloud your judgment.  There’s plenty of time for a 4 year-old to enjoy something that is clearly advertised for a 7 year-old; he/she only has three more birthdays, and voila’, you can go and purchase it. Most reported toy-related injuries occur when children are playing with toys simply too young for them; this happens most often with younger children who have older siblings.  Remember, that while small parts for the older children may promote dexterity, they are a choking hazard for the littler ones.  Make sure there are no sharp edges or strings. Be smart, take away what you may suspect is dangerous.

Love those vintage/collectable toys that someone passed down to the little one, or you bought in an antique store? Remember this: we have very strict guidelines for toys sold here in the US to be ‘lead-free’ since 1978.  With that in mind, be sure you know the origin of where the toy is made and check painted areas you may see.  With respect to antique toys and collectables, be careful: chipping or peeling paint may uncover harmful toxins. Rust is as dangerous as anything – tetanus is serious. Don’t panic, just be pro-active and take these items away.

Whatever the case may be regarding toys, be vigilant. Do you have a bunch of family around for gatherings? If so, pick up the toys off the floor and designate an area for the children.  Avoid adults or even children tripping over the goodies and spoiling all the possible fun.  There’s nothing more disturbing than a visit to the ER for a sprain or break or cut.  What a way to ruin a great time together.

Make sure your toys are all flame retardant, and flame resistant.  It’s also a good idea to put a new fabric toy in the wash before you give it to the little one who just happens to put everything in his/her mouth.  Above all else, all the toys should indicate they are non-toxic.  If it doesn’t say it, throw it away. Do not chance what you can control. This also applies to battery-operated toys–they should all have battery cases that keep them secure so kids cannot access them or pry them open.  Remember batteries contain a fluid that poses serous risks, including chemical burns and internal bleeding if ingested.

Lastly, your check of the toys is another pair of caring and loving eyes that may help to avoid an unnecessary injury.  And, you don’t have to wait for the post holiday to do so, staying aware is a year-round responsibility.