Toys offer our children great joy. However, those same toys can be the cause of serious accidents if we are not careful when selecting them.
When buying toys for children one should:
• Go to specialized shops, where the sales people can assist in the selection of a suitable gift.
• Check that the toys being purchased have a sign on their packaging clarifying that the manufacturer complies with the safety rules, such as the CE of the European Union.
• Before buying a toy, check its quality, and make sure that it is assembled correctly, that it does not break easily, that it has not been painted with toxic paints and that it does not contain flammable materials.
• When buying paints, markers or play doh, make sure that the packaging states that they are non toxic.
Selecting the right toy for each child, means:
• Using common sense, or perhaps seeking a third opinion, when selecting the right gift, depending upon the age and the interests of the recipient.
• When buying a mobile for a crib make sure that the string from which the toy hangs does not exceed 20 cm.
• Never give toys that are made up of small pieces to children under 3 years old, as they might choke on them.
• Avoid buying toys with long hair or fur, for babies under 1 year old, because that may also cause choking and even allergies.
• Chemistry sets, electronic games and other toys that may include electrical components or components that become heated, should only be given to children over 10 years old and, ideally, be used under adult supervision.
In order for toys to stop being the cause of accidents, one should:
• Never give small children gifts in plastic bags, as that might lead to suffocation.
• Avoid giving airguns as gifts because they can cause serious injury, especially to the eyes. For this reason, when children do play with airguns they should always wear protective glasses.
• When buying a bike, skate board, scooter, or a pair of skates, also buy a helmet and any other safety equipment required (kneecaps, wrist-bands,etc.).
• Lights and a bell for the bike, as well as a reflective belt and reflectors for the wheels, are useful gifts for young cyclists.
• Rucksacks and clothes made from reflective material ( or with reflective highlights ) are good choices as gifts for children who play outside when it is dark.
• Safety equipment for sports is always a useful gift for children who like sports.
• Favourite second-hand games are not always suitable or safe for children (e.g. old paints were usually toxic).
Attention to the toys at home:
• Toys should not be scattered on the floor or on the stairs, because they might result in a serious accident.
• Children under 3 years old should not have access to the toys that belong to the older children, as those might be dangerous for them.
• The toys in the house and in the garden need to be checked regularly. Make sure that they are in good condition and that there are no broken pieces that may result in an accident.
In general, toys are a source of great joy to our children. Unfortunately though, a toy can also cause serious injuries. In order for our children to be safe and happy let us make sure that we choose the right gifts for them.