While the holidays are unofficially dedicated to family memories and the joy of celebrating together, this time of year can also be the season for household accidents. December is National Safe Toys and Celebrations Month, a distinction that highlights the potential for injury that certain toys and activities can present.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports unsafe toys as the cause of one in 10 eye injuries seen in the emergency room among patients ages 12 and under. Projectile-style toys, including those that have flying parts like arrows, darts or pellets, are a frequent reason to seek help, according to opthamologists. Avoiding items like BB guns and crossbows may seem obvious but remote control helicopters, drones and rockets can also be hazardous.
Here are five other tips to help keep children safe around the house this holiday season:
Observe current guidance to prevent COVID-19: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend keeping holiday celebrations to immediate family members who share the same household. Observe social distancing and wear a mask during the celebration. Try to eat outdoors, weather permitting.
Put guests’ purses and packages out of reach: Store personal belongings including coats and purses in a room young children cannot access. Prevent the potential for choking and poisoning by putting them away. It’s easy to forget medications, hand sanitizer or small objects that may otherwise be accessible.
Childproof your house: Childproofing your home may be part of everyday life with toddlers but if you’re not used to having small children as the host, take a look around for hazards. Use simple outlet plugs, store fragile items and wrap up cords on blinds, drapes and electronics.
Check labels on toys: The Consumer Product Safety Commission helps determine age recommendations for product labeling on toys. Stick to guidance found on toy packaging with indicators like “Ages 3+” or “Not recommended for children under 5.” Additional warning labels may also alert parents and caregivers to additional hazards. “Because of the high rates of choking fatalities, it is not surprising that small parts, balloons, and balls have the oldest, clearest and most stringent safety regulations. Pediatricians will immediately recognize why young children are so vulnerable to airway obstruction,” reports the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. See the full report here.
Be aware of toys’ hidden hazards: Not all toys are recalled promptly and it’s easy to miss a recall that isn’t well-publicized. Magnets, flat ion batteries, chemicals and small parts are some of the most common culprits that can make a toy unsafe. Science and slime kits, light-up toys and stuffed animals that shed are some of the surprising items that can pose a problem. See the list of the Worst Toys of 2020 here, as compiled by World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH).
No matter how you spend the holiday season this year, may it be safe and happy.