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Get Healthy: Safety first with kids’ holiday gifts

Cortney Bloomer
Carson City Health
and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

In a few days, many of us will gather with family to celebrate the Christmas holiday. For many families with children, the focus will be all on the kids this time of year, as they expectantly open gifts. Make sure that the day ends merrily by taking care to give 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 younger age 15.

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

• Inspect all toys before you child plays with them to insure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.

• Include any necessary protective gear with gifts of sports equipment, if the child does not already have it. (Like a bike helmet if they are given a bike or knee and elbow pads with a skateboard). Kids also should be shown how to properly use any sports equipment to avoid injury.

• 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.

• Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys also should withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping materials immediately on toys as they could present a choking hazard.

• 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 younger than the age of 3. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.

For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.

Carson City Health and Human Services

900 East Long St., Carson City

775-887-2195

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; call for appointment.

Well-child visits: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays.

Men’s clinic: 4-6 p.m. Mondays; call for appointment.

Immunization day: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. Thursdays; no appointment needed.

Clinic is closed on Monday, Dec. 26