By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
This holiday season while shopping for that special child in your life, don’t overlook one important detail – SAFETY! Many times when we purchase gifts for kids, we hope to get that “wow” factor. This year, gift giving can still have that same excitement, but can come with the addition of a safety message.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 256,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2013. Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a toy:
- Identify the age-appropriateness of the item and examine the toy for small, loose parts that could be swallowed by young children.
- Make sure the toys have a non-toxic, durable finish and be sure they contain no unhealthy chemicals (Phthalates, lead, etc.).
- Carefully look for points, edges, and breakable parts that could be sharp and injury a child
- Be cautious with items that contain a button battery. Young children can often locate these on certain toys and if swallowed can suffer chemical burns in as little as two hours.
If you want to avoid electronics, items such as scooters, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates/roller blades, and all-terrain vehicle (ATVs) for older youth are often favorite gifts and reinforce a healthy, active lifestyle. In addition to assuring the gift is both sturdy & stable, follow-up with proper safety equipment like knee pads, elbow pads, & helmets. Ensure that helmets are fitted correctly and that the child wears them each and every time. Trampolines often make popular gifts too, but make sure to complete your purchase with a safety net!
When giving a gift to a family, consider practicality. Items like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers may be scarce in a family’s home or farm. Sometimes families neglect to purchase these items on their own due to expense or failing to realize the item’s importance. For new parents, there are great gifts out there to help baby-proof the home.
Finally, sending a child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community can help instill safety in a child for years to come. Safety Days teach children of potential hazards around the home, ranch or farm and get them to adopt new safety practices. In 2015, more than 100,000 children & adults participated in a Progressive Agriculture Foundation sponsored Safety Day. You can lead by example and give the gift of time by volunteering at a local Safety Day. If a Safety Day is not currently taking place in your community, you can make a difference by applying to host a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in 2016 or 2017. Donating to the program is another way you can make a larger impact and help keep kids safe throughout North America. Every $12 helps another child attend a Safety Day. For more information about the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program, visit www.progressiveag.org
Photo Above: From All-terrain vehicles to bicycles, finding a helmet that fits correctly should be a top priority! At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Pennsylvania, participants are fitted for helmets they will take home with them thanks to the support of local sponsors. Keep the gift of safety in mind this holiday season when selecting the perfect gift for your loved ones!