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Posted on 08-09-2016

With Chanukah 1-week away and Christmas 2-weeks after that, you may be doing some last minute shopping for your kids.  December is National Safe Toy and Gift Month. We want to remind our patients and friends about the importance of choosing the right toys for your children. We want them to have a safe, and enjoyable holiday, free of injury.
In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 251,800 toy-related injuries.  Of those, 73% of the injuries were to children under the age of 15.  In fact, 84,400 were to those under age 5!

​Because the most common injured part of the body is the head and face, Prevent Blindness America 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 is offering toy-buying and gift-giving tips to anyone planning to purchase a gift for a child this year.

Before purchasing a toy or gift, Prevent Blindness suggests:

     * 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 that may have access
        to the toy.
     * Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or dangerous edges.
     * 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 the American Society for Testing and Materials
        (ASTM).
     * Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such
        as a basketball along with eye goggles).
     * 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 (... "any
        part of the toy").
     * Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very
        young children as these can become wrapped around the child's neck.
     * Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
     * Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
     * Always supervise children and demonstrate to them how to use their toys safely.

In addition to being safe, good toys for young children need to match the child's stages of development and emerging abilities.  Many safe and appropriate play materials are free items typically found at home.  Cardboard boxes, plastic bowls and lids, collections of plastic bottles caps (albeit not for very young children) and other "treasures" can be used in more than one way by children of different and appropriate ages.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children has created a guide of "Good Toys for Children by Age and Stage."  As you read the lists of suggested toys for children of different ages, keep in mind that each child develops at his/her individual pace.  Items on one list - as long as they are safe - can be good choices for children who are younger and older than the suggested range.

We at Anaheim Hills Family Optometry wish all of you a very Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.  May your holidays be Happy, Joyous, Safe and Healthy.

As usual, I am interested in your comments.  Please write to me at Info@drcharm.com.
​I continue to enjoy hearing from you and answering your questions.  It's a pleasure to learn together.

Be well,
Dr. Charm

Anaheim Hills Family Optometry
​6200 E. Canyon Rim Rd., Suite 101
Anaheim Hills, CA 92807
(714) 998-2020

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