Consider safety when buying toys and gifts during the holiday

When: December 1-31

What: Once Halloween ends, the winter holiday season starts to take over. Red and green decorations splash across storefronts and Christmas music can’t be avoided. Meanwhile, toy ads and commercials become increasingly prevalent on TV and the radio. Amidst all the happy chaos the holiday season brings, toy and gift safety might get overlooked. Throughout the month of December, make safety your priority during Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

Background: According to SafeKids USA, many toy-related deaths are caused by choking, drowning or strangulation. In 2009, approximately 185,900 children 14 and under were treated in an emergency department for a toy-related injury. Toys and gifts can often pose dangers that aren’t obvious. A harmless bouncy ball or balloon can lead to serious choking dangers. Anything with tiny pieces can end up in the mouth of small children. Remember to consider safety and hidden dangers when buying your toys and gifts during the holiday season.

Story Pitch: Several companies and organizations in both the toy production and safety fields can promote their services and products in December. Children’s toy manufacturers and retailers can market age-appropriate toys, while highlighting the toys’ safety features. Additionally, children’s medical professionals can take this time to discuss the importance of toy safety, making sure people are aware of the assorted dangers toys can pose including choking and strangulation. Organizations that offer CPR and First Aid may want to take this time to feature their class schedules during a month when safety awareness is vital.

Story Hook: Each year since 2000, an average of 20 children ages 14 and under have died from toy-related injuries. Latex balloons are the number one cause of choking death, while riding toys like scooters and tricycles cause the most injury. Consider the following when making your pitch:

  • What types of toys pose the biggest risk to children under age five?
  • How can parents protect children from the dangers of toys and gifts?
  • How can parents advise gift-givers on proper toy safety procedures?
  • What are some ways to avoid toys with small parts that pose choking risks?

Tips: A toy manufacturer who focuses specifically on safety and how to make toys safer can share good tips on how to properly shop for safe and age-appropriate toys. Additionally, a parent who has dealt with unsafe toys and who carefully considers toy choices can provide great insight on what toys are age-appropriate.

Resources:

American Society for Testing and Materials
(610) 832-9500
www.astm.org

Consumer Product Safety Commission
(301) 504-7923
www.cpsc.gov

PreventBlindness.org
(800) 331-2020
www.preventblindness.org

SafeKids U.S.A.
(202) 662-0600
www.safekids.org

–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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