Are Toys Safe for Kids This Holiday Season?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Following is a Timely Tip Provided as a Community Service by the Lourdes Health System
Lourdes Experts Offer Advice
It seems like every day for weeks, another toy recall was announced, citing a variety of safety issues. In November alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 10 popular items, while having recalled 13 others in October. As the holiday shopping season is officially here, how can parents know how that the products they buy are safe?
"Fortunately, so far we haven't seen any cases in our Emergency Department of children being hurt by the presence of lead in any of the recently recalled toys," said Russ Harris, M.D., an emergency room physician at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.
On their Web site at www.cpsc.gov, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is recommending that parents know the ABC's of toy safety: Awareness, and know the Benefits for Consumers – or Awareness Benefits Consumers.
The presence of lead -- in the majority of the recalled toys -- is something that can be easily screened for in well-visits to your child's pediatrician.
"We have had inquiries as to whether or not blood tests for lead, over and above the standard screening, is necessary," said Fred Ashong, M.D., a pediatrician at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and the Osborn Family Health Center. "If parents keep up with their kids' well-visits and empower themselves with information available to consumers, we don't see a problem on the horizon this season."
Here are some other safety tips parents should be aware of as they do their holiday shopping:
· Know what the appropriate age group for a toy is and stick with that recommendation.
· For children under the age of 3, avoid toys with small pieces that will end up in a child's mouth or nose. Make sure that the toys are well-made with securely adhered eyes, noses and other parts.
· If your child enjoys arts and crafts kits, look for items marked with the designation, ASTM D-4236, indicating that the item has been reviewed by a toxicologist, and look for additional cautionary information.
· If your child has a toy gun in his or her wish list, make sure that the gun -- or at the very least, the barrel -- is brightly colored so it's not mistaken for a real gun.
· Buying a new bicycle? Be sure to include a helmet and make your child wear it all the time while riding.