With the holiday season almost upon us, most parents and family members are concerned about getting that hot new toy the young ones are after. Not many people are thinking about the negative consequences that can arise from not fully thinking a gift idea for a child all the way through. Consequently, the month of December has been designated as Safe Toys and Gifts Month, a time to spread the word about the dangers that can come with toys and small children, and how gift-givers can avoid a tragic mistake.
This may be shocking to some, but every year more than 250,000 children are treated at hospitals for toy-related injuries! A majority of the children in these predicaments are under the age of 15, with more than half of the injuries involving the face. Fortunately, with a little insight and preparedness, most of these mishaps can be circumvented.
Friendsforsight.org dug up some helpful tips provided by American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness America:
- Read all labels and warnings on toy box…and take them seriously!
- Avoid buying toys with rigid or sharp points, rods, spikes, or dangerous edges. 
- Only buy toys that are meant for the child’s age, maturity and ability.
- Inspect toys first.
- Demonstrate to children how to use the toy safely.
- Supervise children at play.
- Fix or throw away broken toys.
- Have children wear the correct protective eyewear for sports.
There are some items that pose an extra threat to children and have made the “blacklist”. Whenever these come into the picture for children, they should be given with extreme caution. These toys include:
Balloons – Balloons can get wedged down a child’s throat if things get too crazy. Children can choke or suffocate on a deflated or punctured balloon, and it is recommended to keep balloons away if they are younger than eight years old. 
Scooters and other riding toys – These types of toys go very fast, so proper, well-fitted safety gear should be worn 100% of the time. It is highly advised to supervise children during usage, especially when they are first starting out.
Magnets – High-powered magnet sets can be dangerous and should be kept away, even if they are marked for children. Moreover, sometimes building and playsets have small magnets inside, and buyers should do best to just avoid them all together. 
Toys with Lead – It is important to educate oneself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint.
There are countless organizations spreading the word about toy and gift safety with the hopes of alerting gift buyers to proper toy safety precautions, and avoiding as many future injuries as possible. While these groups are dedicated to this cause during the month of December, it does not stop there. Learning and then teaching others about this issue should happen all year around!
1) Child and Family Services. (2013). “December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month”. Retrieved from: https://child-familyservices.org/december-is-national-safe-toys-and-gifts-month/ .
2) Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2017). “Top Toy Lists Start With Safety”. Retrieved from: https://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2017/11/16/top-toy-lists-start-with-safety/ .
3) Friends for Sight. (2017). “Safe Toys and Gifts Month – December”. Retrieved from: https://www.friendsforsight.org/resources/eye-health-awareness/item/17-safe-toys-and-gifts-month-december .
4) Health Tradition. (2017). “December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month”. Retrieved from: https://www.healthtradition.com/december-is-safe-toys-and-gifts-month/ .