December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 201, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nearly 75 percent of those patients were under the age of 15. In 2007 alone, toymakers recalled more than 19 million toys worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint and small magnets.
When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety. Before you make a purchase, it is critical to consider the safety and age range of the toys.
Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.
This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following in choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs, choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the "AblePlay" website at http://www.ableplay.org/ for more information.
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection. ATSM means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear. Give a helmet with the skateboard.
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled. Be aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint. Have your children wash their hands frequently and call your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead.
- Do NOT give young children toys with small parts including magnets and "button" batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested. These items tend to find their way to the mouths of children, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements.
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled "nontoxic."
SRS offers physicians, clinics and other healthcare providers easy access to an extensive array of laboratory services, expertise and technology used by the SAMC lab in its daily operations. SRS offers more than 1,200 analytical tests for its customers. An automated process speeds testing times and reduces the risk of human error.
SRS customers enjoy shorter turnaround times relative to other commercial reference laboratories, which benefits the practitioner, the patient and the SAMC lab by keeping these tests local.
(PHOTO CAPTION) From left: April Kelly, SRS outreach manager, Jeff Shepard, laboratory director, and Mark Shertzer, MD, medical director, welcome guests at a recent open house. Seated are Hunter Parrish and David Bryant of Information Systems, posing as patients for lab assistants Jakelia Jackson and Shalonda Melton.
The SAMC Sweet Tea Society’s first Sip & Learn event for this fiscal year was held at The Depot off Main on November 7. More than 40 participants attended the event. SAMC Radiologist Julia Alexander, MD was the guest speaker; her topic was Breast Cancer is Never a Journey You Should Take By Yourself. She stressed the importance of women getting mammograms, early detection and treatment options for breast cancer, genetic testing and SAMC’s nurse navigation program. In the photo, Debra Stringer of the Southeast Regional Screening Program (SRSP) discusses how the SRSP benefits rural Wiregrass communities.