Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Dec. 20, 2010

Keeping the Holidays Safe

The Oswego County Health Department reminds residents to consider the safety and age-range of toys when making gift purchases.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were over 250,000 toy-related injuries in 2009. There are also multiple toys that have been recalled for lead.

To prevent injuries, choose toys that are safe for the age of the child. Look for labels to help judge which toys might not be safe, especially for infants and children under age three. For children of all ages, consider if the toys are appropriate for their skills and abilities.

Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Director of Public Health, said, "along with knowing what kinds of toys to choose, it's important to know what kinds of toys to avoid in order to prevent possible injuries."

For example, do not choose:

  • Toys with small parts and sharp edges and points.
  • Toys that shoot flying objects and make loud noises.
  • Crayons and markers that are not labeled nontoxic.
  • Toys that could shatter into fragments if broken.
  • Toys with ropes and cords.
  • Electric toys with heating elements.

It's also important to remember the danger that lead poses to the entire family. Many toys and other items made in foreign countries can contain lead. Because children put their hands into their mouths, they can easily be exposed to lead paint and dust. Even very small amounts of lead can be dangerous to a child.

To keep their children safe from lead poisoning, parents should educate themselves about lead exposure from toys, have children wash their hands frequently, and search "lead recalls" on the NYS Department of Health Web site at http://www.health.state.ny.us/. Most importantly, have children's lead levels checked by their healthcare provider.

Following these tips will help you and your family have a safe and happy holiday. For more information about safe gifts and toys, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.

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