Get Healthy Carson City: Make sure little ones stay safe with appropriate holiday gifts | NevadaAppeal.com

Get Healthy Carson City: Make sure little ones stay safe with appropriate holiday gifts

Cortney Bloomer
Carson City Health and Human Services

In just over a week, many of us will gather with family and friends in celebration of Christmas. For many families with children, the focus will be all on the kids this time of year, as they excitedly open gifts and play with their new treasures. Make sure that the day begins – and ends – merrily by giving the children in your life gifts that are safe and age-appropriate, and be sure to provide supervision and direction to young children.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates in its most recent report that hospital emergency rooms treated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States. Of that number, 72 percent of injuries were to children under age 15. It's important to do your part to reduce the number of children who suffer injuries while playing with things that are meant to provide joy.

Here are a few tips to help parents keep their kids safe with their new toys all year long.

Inspect all toys before you child plays with them. Make sure they are in good working order and properly assembled to reduce risk of injury. Evaluate toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child's age and developmental level.

Gifts like sports equipment should include any necessary protective gear, if the child does not already have it (for example, a bike helmet if they are given a bike or knee and elbow pads with a skateboard). Kids should also be shown how to properly use any sports equipment to avoid injury, and parents should take responsibility for ensuring their child's safety by making sure they wear the necessary safety equipment as well.

Parents, save the warranties and directions for toys. If you are sending the toy to a young friend or relative, include a gift receipt in case a parent feels it is not appropriate for the child.

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Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child's toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact.

Don't give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.

Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones. A bike, action figure set, or electronics may be great for an elementary age child, but could be harmful to a toddler.

The holidays should be a time of fun. By providing children with the toys they want, you can make their day bright, but by ensuring that any toys are safe, you can make sure they have hours of enjoyment throughout the year. For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.