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Tips to Purchase Safe Toys

December 6, 2012

Thanks to the many avenues available to consumers to do their holiday shopping, online sales websites and retailers are offering a variety of bargains to get an edge on the competition. But sometimes, the best deal may not be the safest. Prevent Blindness Ohio wants everyone to make sure that all gifts purchased, especially for children, are safe.

In 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 262,300 toy-related injuries. Of that number, 74 percent of injuries were to those less than 15 years of age. Additionally, the CPSC found that 45 percent of the estimated ER-treated injuries occurred to the head and face area. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions made up most of these injuries.

"In order to spend the holidays with family and friends, instead of in the emergency room, we must be diligent in making sure our children are protected," said Sherry Williams, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. "We all need to make a conscious effort to think about the gifts we are buying to make sure they are appropriate for every child's age and development level."

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Prevent Blindness Ohio has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month in an effort to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone. The group offers toy-buying and gift-giving tips to all those planning to purchase a gift for a child this year.

Prevent Blindness Ohio suggests:

Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child. Be diligent about inspecting these gifts before allowing your child to play with them.

Inspect all toys before purchasing. Monitor toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child's age and developmental level.

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).

Avoid toys that shoot projectiles such as toy guns they contribute to a large number of serious eye injuries and can rob children of their sight.

For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are secured within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Any toy that is labeled "supervision required" must always be used in the presence of an adult. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.

Always save the warranties and directions for every toy. If possible, include a gift receipt. Repair or throw away damaged toys.

Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child's toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.

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 they can become wrapped around a child's neck.

Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately. According to the CPSC, more children have suffocated from them than any other type of toy.

Visit for information about safe gift-buying for children this season.

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children as well as general children's eye health topics, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at 800-301-2020 or visit



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