December Toy Safety: What To Look For

"You'll shoot your eye out!" These immortal words were uttered by Ralphie in the holiday classic, "A Christmas Story." While we all had a laugh at his expense, the dangers of toys during the holiday season can be very real; in 2014 U.S. emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries. Forty-four percent of those injuries were to the head and face area. Simple awareness of toy types and common issues can help guide your purchasing decisions this month, and keep your family out of the ER this Christmas.

If any of the children in your life are asking for the toys below, exercise the proper precautions.

Projectile toys: Anything such as darts, guns, or missile firing toys can lend itself to eye injuries if you're not careful.

BB guns: BB and pellet guns are no longer classified as toys because they can be extremely dangerous.

Sports equipment: Baseball and basketball has been shown to be one of the leading causes of injury in children 8-15. However, this is a great opportunity to invest in eye safety equipment such as goggles, visors, etc. Make it a gift!

Depending on the child's age, it may also be a good idea to avoid toys with sharp ridges or edges. However, the best defense against toy injuries is attentive parenting. Keep your children in your line of vision, read the directions enclosed with the products, and demonstrate how to use them safely this holiday season. While shopping, anything designated with the letters ASTM may be a good bet; this means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

With the correct precautions, you can be sure to avoid a Ralphie episode this holiday season.