Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2008

Make child safety a holiday priority

December 13, 2008

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Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don’t forget to practice safety, especially when it comes to children.

Safe Kids Kansas Inc. reminds parents to put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks on higher branches that are out of reach of children. Also, keep alcohol, including baking extracts, out of reach and do not leave alcoholic beverages unattended.

Holly berries, mistletoe berries and poinsettias are potentially harmful if eaten. If a child eats any part of a nonfood plant, call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

And don’t forget that toys can be harmful and even deadly, according to Safe Kids Kansas. Hospital emergency rooms treat about 217,000 toy-related injuries each year, and about 15 children under the age of 14 die.

So, if shopping for toys, beware of toy recalls. To stay informed, parents can sign up for e-mail announcements at www.cpsc.gov.

Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator, said parents shouldn’t hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. To do so, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission at (800) 638-2772 or click on www.cpsc.gov.

“Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall,” Stegelman said in a news release.

Safe Kids Kansas also recommends:

• Buying age-appropriate toys. Do not buy toys with small parts for children under age 3 and avoid building sets with small magnets for children under age 6.

• Identify dangerous small parts. Do not let small children play with anything that can fit into the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper.

• Buy proper safety gear. If you purchase a riding toy such as a bicycle, scooter, skates or skateboard, be sure to buy the appropriate protective gear as well.

John Drees, coordinator for Safe Kids Douglas County, said a majority of toy-related accidents in Lawrence are caused by children not wearing elbow and knee pads and helmets.

He said Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room fields about 100 injury bicycle accidents a year, or about one every three days. “It’s significant,” he said. “We want kids to be active. We want them to ride bikes, but they’ve got to have a helmet on.”

For more information about toy safety, visit www.usa.safekids.org.

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