Holiday Gift Guide: Keep the Little Ones in Your Life Happy and Safe

December 7, 2016

Few things are more fun than buying toys for the children we love during the holidays, and often, shopping for our little ones brings us as much joy as it does them. Before you plunge into toy-buying this holiday season, Haywood Regional Medical Center urges you to keep safety top-of-mind and consider the following facts and shopping tips before you spend.

In 2014, researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital released the findings of a study that analyzed more than 20 years’ worth of children’s safety data. They found that between 1990 and 2011, there were more than 3.2 million toy-related injuries, or more than 150,000 per year. Furthermore, they concluded that in 2011, a child was seen in an emergency room for toy-related injuries every three minutes.


 

"These accidents are devastating for children and their families, especially when they take place during the holidays,” said Dr. Anna Mooney, Pediatrician, Mountain Pediatrics Group. “To prevent these incidents from occurring, we must be mindful of potential hazards and be conscientious about selecting age-appropriate toys to help keep children safe and healthy.”
 

Dr. Mooney offers the following tips as you head for the toy store:

  • Avoid toys with small parts. For children three years and younger, avoid buying toys that may contain small parts. Toddlers tend to put anything in sight into their mouths. Furthermore, toddlers also are fond of putting objects in their ears and noses – two more good reasons to stay away from anything containing small parts.
  • Check for sturdiness. Children of all ages are anything but gentle with their toys. Look for quality design and construction in all toys for all ages. Only buy toys that seem durable and able to withstand impact and/or chewing without breaking or splintering.
  • Make sure toys aren’t too loud. Whether it’s a new electronic device for your son or a karaoke machine for your daughter, kids love devices and toys that play music or make noise. However, many of these toys are as loud and can cause ear damage when children hold them to their ears, listen through earbuds or even play with them at an appropriate distance from the ear.   One option is to place tape over the speaker of toys that are too loud (ideally behind the speaker grill).
  • Remember the helmet. If you are thinking about buying your child a new scooter, roller skates or bike, make sure you also remember the helmet and other appropriate safety gear. These toys are fun, but they can also go fast and lead to hard falls.
  • Check for recalls. In 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled hundreds of thousands of units of toys for various safety reasons. To make sure the toys you are buying are safe, check the latest recalls on the CPSC website.  https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/
  • Read the label. A great thing about toy shopping now is that almost every toy intended for children 12 years old and under includes the recommended age range. For older children, be wary of labels indicating “supervision required.
  • Identify A Safe Place To Play. If you’re giving a toy with small parts to an older child, but a younger child is in the same household, the choking and suffocation hazards still exist. If you’re in that situation, designate a safe place to play to avoid those hazards.

For more information on toy safety and a list of the latest recalls, visit http://www.cpsc.gov and happy shopping!

Haywood Regional Medical Center, a Duke LifePoint Hospital, is located in Haywood County and offers a comprehensive array of services, including orthopedics, spine services, cardiology, general surgery, women's care, emergency medicine, behavioral health, and includes 12 multi-specialty physician clinics. The campus, located in Clyde, is also home to the 54,000 square foot Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center, the 44,000 square foot Haywood Regional Outpatient Care Center (includes the outpatient surgery center, laboratory, imaging center including women's imaging and physician practices) and nearby, The Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility. Haywood Regional Medical Center also operates two urgent care centers in the county, in Waynesville and Canton.