A safer holiday season is something we can all celebrate. That’s why Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. Toys are a source of both fun and learning, but gift-givers need to consider the safety and appropriateness of the toy and child that’s receiving it. Just because something looks fun, doesn’t mean it’s safe for all kids.
Certain toys pose a greater risk than others, especially when it comes to caring for the eyesight and safety of kids. Here are some things to consider when shopping for toys this holiday season (and beyond).
- Does the toy contain any parts or pieces that fly off? Nerf guns, for instance, can be a hazard to eye health in the hands of kids who aren’t old enough to play safely
- Is the toy made well enough to sustain rough play or being thrown without shattering?
- Does the toy have any sharp edges?
- Does the toy packaging mention “ATSM”? That means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards, making it a safer option.
Aside from checking for vision safety, here are some other things to consider:
- Make sure you’re gifting age-appropriate toys. Anything with small removable parts, for instance, shouldn’t be given to toddlers who are still prone to putting things in their mouths.
- Consider chemicals. Most toys aren’t made with lead paint anymore, but checking packaging is still a good idea. Any toys containing liquid should only be given to kids who know not to ingest anything from a toy.
- Avoiding gifting toys that have ropes or heating elements, as these can accidentally cause serious injuries.
- Consider things like sound and texture; certain noises and materials can be stressful or overwhelming for kids with sensory or sensitivity issues.