December is Safe Toys & Gifts Month

It's the most wonderful time of the year --- and the last thing anyone wants to do is ruin it by giving gifts that are potentially dangerous or harmful to children. So, if you want to make GOOD memories this year --- instead of memories that involve emergency rooms, casts, or eyepatches --- make sure you review these safety tips, and have the hap-hap-happiest holiday since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny Kaye!

Gifts with Small Parts: Small parts --- think tiny accessories for action figures, or beads, or pieces from board games --- can be choking hazards. Be especially careful of magnets and "button" batteries, as these can cause serious injuries and/or death even if swallowed without choking. The rule to remember is this: if a piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it's not appropriate for kids under age three.

 Say it with us --- "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."

Gifts with Projectiles: Say it with us --- "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." Air rockets, darts, sling shots, BB guns, and other such items are intended for older children. But remember: improper use of these can result in eye injuries at any age. Make sure everyone who receives such gifts knows the basic rules, including (and especially) "Don't shoot anything at your brother/sister/cousin/dog/parent/friend unless it's made of foam --- and even then, don't aim at the face!"

Gifts You Can Ride: Skateboards, in-line skates, Onewheels, hoverboards, scooters, bikes --- all can be dangerous for kids of any age or skill set. Make sure kids are wearing the proper safety gear, and that all gear is sized specifically for your child. Helmets in particular should be used with anything that has wheels!

Gifts for the Artists: Check the labels on children's paint sets and art supplies, and make sure crayons and markers are labeled "nontoxic."

Gifts with Lead: Yes, it is 2023, but lead is still out there. Toys painted before 1976 may contain lead, so be careful if you're considering decorating your child's room with vintage toys, or if you're giving them some of your old toys to play with.

In addition to the above, there are other items on the Naughty List, including deflated balloons, toys with ropes and cords, and toys with heating elements.

Be sure to consider the ages of all the children in the home when buying gifts for a particular child. Maybe that gift that uses "button" batteries is for a teenager, but if they have a younger sibling it could still be considered a hazard. If you're buying gifts for children other than your own, consider asking their parents for ideas, or even for permission to buy a certain item, to make sure they are comfortable with having it in their home.

Finally, don't forget to discard any plastic bags or other packaging that could be dangerous to curious kids. In other words, don't be a cotton-headed ninny muggins!

Happy Holidays from your friends at ADPH!