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					Bathroom Briefs
Your line to good health!
Developed by: Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Section, Forsyth County Department of Public Health

December 2007

Toy Safety Tips - Part 1

O

ne of the most essential and important things a child does is play, and parents are a child’s first and best playmate! Here are a few tips to help parents be the greatest playmate: (1) Watch your child play so you know her skills and preferences. (2) Follow your child’s lead with play, remember he is learning! (3) Be open, flexible and creative when playing – its fun and a wonderful way to get closer to your child while they are doing their important work - PLAYING!

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Do not store toys in their original packaging – staples can cut, plastic wrap can suffocate, etc. Also, get rid of plastic wrappings on toys immediately to prevent suffocation. Spot check toys on a regular basis. If toys need repaired, make sure done quickly and correctly. Make sure child knows how to correctly use the toy.

Toy safety resources
Toy safety is important for children of all ages, especially for children under the age of three. To check whether a toy is safe or unsafe or to report a toy related injury, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1-800638-2772 or visit their website at www.cpsc.gov . Toy safety guidelines can be viewed on the CPSC website as well as a list of toys that has been recalled. To check on current recalls and product safety news, you can call 301-504-0580.

Checking for choking hazards
Anything less than 1 ¼ inch can be a hazard for a child 3 years of age and younger. If you are uncertain about the safety of a toy, a simple choke tube tester can be made using a paper tube from a roll of toilet paper. Items appropriate for young children should not be able to drop through the tube.

Lead safety
As noted in recent news releases, high levels of lead and lead paint have been found in some children’s jewelry and toys. You are advised to stop using the toys immediately and remove them. Some 600,000 items have been recalled (www. consumerreports.org and http://www.cpsc.gov). A few quick things you can do to avoid lead poisoning would be to take an inventory of current toys; clean up to avoid lead exposure from sources in your home; buy smart – avoid no name products, etc.; find safe substitutes for toys with lead; and get tested if you are concerned about your child’s exposure to lead (National Lead Information Center, 1-800-424-LEAD). Or contact the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (336) 7033130.

Toy safety tips
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Play with your child and provide appropriate adult supervision during play time. Nothing can replace this! For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could be a choking hazard. Anything that is less than 1 ¾” is too small for children under the age of 3. Choose a toy chest with smooth edges and no lid! Low, open shelves are the best and safest way to store toys.

Computer games and internet safety
Since internet safety is such an important issue today, there are some online resources to help parents with this topic. One example is a site from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. This site has several helpful hints and information for parents to review before buying computer software for their children. A few tips include checking the ratings, talking with other parents and older children, and monitoring your child’s video game play. The web address is: http://www.esrb.org/ about/parents_tips_print.jsp There are also several consumer friendly sites on line with practical and useful advice for parents on internet safety for their children. One example is the FBI resource http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm. Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, and Safe Kids.

Bathroom Briefs
Your line to good health!
Developed by: Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Section, Forsyth County Department of Public Health

December 2007

Toy Safety Tips - Part 2

T

he holidays will be here soon, and everyone wants to get the perfect toys for children! Here are some suggestions for purchasing age appropriate toys based on current recommendations and safety standards.

Tips for buying toys

diameter; push-pull toys - remember no long strings; stacking toys; toy telephones - without cords; shape toys, play appliances, food and utensils; dolls, stuffed animals and doll furniture; riding toys – small tricycle and wagon with safety equipment; simple puzzles, shape sorters, etc.; rhythm instruments such as tambourines, toy pianos, etc.; and outdoor toys such as large balls, a wading pool, a sandbox, etc..

Make sure the toy is age appropriate – that means you should consider the child’s interests as well as her developmental age, needs and abilities. The toys should not be too easy – ones that children will become bored with quickly, or too difficult – ones that are too hard and they can become frustrated. • Read the manufacturers’ recommendations for age appropriateness and what the toy is made of before you purchase the toy. • Make sure toys are well constructed and in good shape (especially if purchased at a second hand store or a yard sale). • Avoid toys with sharp edges and edges or ones that shoot objects in the air (can cause serious eye injuries or choking). • Art supplies and craft kits should be made of non-toxic materials or lead. • Sports equipment should be used with protective gear. • Avoid toys with small parts that can be swallowed or be put into mouth, ears or noses, especially for children under the age of 3. • Avoid toys that have strings longer than 12 inches, because they can be a strangulation risk for children. For children under the age of 3, the strings should be no longer than 6 or 7 inches. • Avoid hobby kits and chemistry kits for children under the age of 12. • Electric toys should be “UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved.” Avoid toys that have exposed wires or parts that get hot, especially for younger children. • Watch for toys that have springs, gears or hinged parts - they can pinch tiny fingers or get caught in a child’s hair. • Be careful when buying infant sleep accessories or crib toys. Remember, nothing in the crib except the baby and a blanket for safe sleep!

Preschoolers (ages 2 to 5)

Toys for this age group should include opportunities for make believe. Remember children love to imitate adults and older siblings, so give them toys to facilitate role playing and other imaginary situations. Recommended toys include books – short stories or action stories; blackboards and chalk; building blocks; crayons, nontoxic finger paints, clay, etc.; dolls and stuffed animals; dress up accessories; props for housekeeping, store and medical play; puppets; farm, village, house and other play sets; construction toys; simple board games and puzzles with large pieces; outdoor toys such as a sandbox with a lid, slide, swing, playhouse, etc.; bead threading and lacing sets; and wheeled toys such as tricycles, cars, and wagons.

Toys for infants (birth to 1)

Toys for this age group should have large pieces, be brightly colored, lightweight and appeal to the baby’s sight, hearing and touch. Recommended toys include cloth, plastic or board books with large pictures; large blocks of wood or plastics; rattles; soft, safe, washable animals or dolls (made of short pile fabric, without button noses or eyes); busy boards/boxes; floating bath toys; squeeze toys and balls (at least 1 ¾ inches and larger); simple musical instruments (with soft noises); activity quilts; mobiles; musical or chime toys; nesting and stacking toys; and push-pull toys (string no longer than 6-7”).

Children at this age are creative and more physically active. Remember they can write, do arts and crafts, and are able to use simple mechanical toys. Recommended toys include board and table-top sports games; art materials that include blunt scissors, sewing kits, craft supplies, etc.; model and hobby kits; dolls and action figures, doll houses and related structures; racing cars, trains, and other transportation types of toys; card games; hand puppets, marionettes and theatres; magic sets; construction toys; roller skates, bicycles or other sports equipment with protective gear; books; trains and other electric battery operated toys for kids ages 8 and over; and educational electronic games.

School age children (ages 5 to 9)

Older children (ages 9 to 14)

Toddlers (ages 1 to 2)

At this age they enjoy team sports and strenuous physical activity, like games that require increased dexterity, and they begin to develop hobbies and a strong interest in scientific activities. Recommended toys are the same as school age plus the following: computers and computer games; sewing, knitting, needlepoint, etc.; microscopes/ telescopes; sports equipment with protective gear included; hobby collections; table tennis and billiards; model, science, craft and handwork kits; and advance construction sets. Remember, your playing with your children at any age is the best gift of all! Supervision and parental involvement are important at all ages. Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Toys for this age group should be able to withstand a toddler’s curious nature and allow for active physical play. Recommended toys include books made of cloth, plastic or board with large pictures; large blocks make of wood or plastic; balls – over 1.75 inches in


				
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