24 Dec Make Your Child's Merry Christmas a Safe Christmas
Part of the joy and excitement of Christmas is shopping for all those neat toys that are on the Christmas list. Parents, family and friends get almost as much fun out of watching the faces of children as the children do opening their presents.
However a word of caution; never take for granted that just because a toy is being sold on the market that the toy is safe. One of the biggest hazards with many of the toys on the market today is that they made have been manufactured with harmful chemicals. The US government has most certainly addressed this issue and passed legislation to prevent hazardous materials being used in toys. But, the problem arises in the fact that the law doesn’t come into effect until February 2009; once the Christmas toy buying season has passed.
If this is not a topic that you are aware of then consider that in excess of 80,000 children under the age of 5 ended up in emergency rooms in 2007 alone. Even more devastating than this was the fact that 18 of them died. This doesn’t mean that you should ban the purchases or receiving of toys. It does mean though that you may have to be more diligent in the type of toys your child is playing with.
In most cases, parents are most astute about what toys they should buy for their little ones, as they are aware of potential benefits or dangers. Friends and family may not have that precious knowledge and mistakenly buy something for the child that is hazardous. You can safeguard against this by paying close attention to the gifts your little one is opening on Christmas morning and inspect them well for both obvious and not so obvious hazards.
The obvious of course would be small pieces that could be potential choking hazards. The not so obvious would be those that contain hazardous chemicals in the toy making process such as lead or phthalates. Now of course the average parent is not going to be able to detect these. But, you should educate yourself and stay aware by researching online and reading news articles about particular age appropriate toys. At least you will be able to safeguard against known hazards. In addition, you can check available publications that specifically list safe toys. These toys are noted to be PVC free; one of the known and particularly toxic chemicals that may be found in some toys. Another excellent resource is the recently released guide for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
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