4 Tips for the Safest Holiday Season
For 34 years, U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) has issued an annual Toy Safety Report as the holiday shopping season begins. This year’s “Trouble in Toyland” report can be found here. PIRG’s 2019 Toy Safety Survey focused on six categories:
- Choking Hazards are still commonhttps
- Toys with Slime or Paint that is toxic
- Privacy Invasive “Connected Toys”
- Toys with Dangerous levels of Lead or Cadmium
- Recalled toys that are still be sold online
More toy safety tips can be found here, including warnings about toys that are too loud, toys really intended for adults, and hatching toys.
Holiday Season Hazards:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also issues “Safety Tips for the Season” on their website here. This website has some eye-opening videos discussing the common ways people get injured during the holiday season by decorating, cooking, and playing with unsafe toys. The video posted on the Safety Education Center page actually demonstrates how easily fires can start from candles, Christmas tree lights and turkey fryers. The statistics are staggering:
- The CPSC reports that in 2018 there were 166,200 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 17 deaths to children younger than 15, with most of the deaths associated with riding toys and incidents of choking on small parts, like small balls and balloons.
- On average, there are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with the majority of the incidents involving falls. And in the 2017 holiday season, about 18,100 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries.
- In the 2018 holiday season, there were five deaths associated with holiday decorating.
- From 2014 to 2016, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires, resulting in 10 deaths, 150 injuries and nearly $50 million in property damage each of those years.
The CPSC’s Section on Toy Safety is Full of Helpful Information, and Makes These Suggestions:
- Download the app, then look through your kid’s toy box to get rid of old toys that have been recalled or present hazards due to their condition or age. If that old toy box is a wooden storage chest, it may be a hazard based on the condition of the hinges and latching mechanism.
- Get rid of anything that presents a choking hazard, including balloons! Watch this video to learn how to use a toilet paper roll to test for choking hazards for toys intended for kids 3 and under.
- The highest number of injuries are caused by scooters- make sure the child has and uses ALL the recommended safety gear, especially helmets.
- Be aware that toy safety has changed dramatically over the years, so it might not be a good idea to hand-me-down toys from older kids to younger ones.
Reading the US PIRG report and checking out the resources from the CPSC can empower parents to take action to keep their families safe.