Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

'Tis the Season for Safety:
Follow Toy Manufacturer's Instructions and
Practice Shopping Cart Safety

Safe Kids Kansas offers safety reminders

While picking out a child’s toy is an exciting part of every holiday season, keeping safety in mind needs to be on the top of every shopper’s list. 

Selecting Toys

Parents and caregivers can make sure they’re choosing safe toys for their children by paying close attention to warning labels and manufacturer’s guidelines. “More than three billion toys and games are sold in the United States every year, and most of them are very safe. Warning labels and manufacturers’ instructions tell you how to use the product safely,” says Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas. “If the manufacturer sets a minimum age or other restrictions, there’s a reason.  For example, a label reading ‘not appropriate for children under three’ may be present because the toy poses a choking hazard, not because it’s too difficult for a two-year-old.”

Each year, approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide.  But on average only 15 children under the age of 14 die from a toy-related injury.

“If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit www.recalls.gov to make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons,” says Sage.  To stay informed, Safe Kids Kansas recommends that parents sign up for emails that will keep them up-to-date on recalls beyond the holiday itself.  “It’s too difficult to get your information piecemeal from TV or the newspaper,” said Sage, “So if you get the emails sent to you each time a recall happens, you’ll be up-to-the-minute and won’t have to worry.” If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.  To sign up for recall emails, go to www.cpsc.gov and click on “Sign up for Email Announcements.”

Don’t hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. “If your child has a close call, the next child might not be so lucky,” says Sage. “Report safety concerns about toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall.”

Safe Kids Kansas also recommends:

Shop Safely

It is estimated that more than 20,000 children under age 5 are injured by shopping carts each year in the United States. Falls are the most common cause of shopping-cart related injury in children of this age group, accounting for 83 percent of all injuries. Tip-overs and children colliding with the shopping cart are other causes of injury.

Top five ways to avoid shopping-cart injuries:

  1. Never leave your child unattended in a shopping cart and stay close to the cart at all times.
  2. If you are placing your child in the shopping cart seat, always use a harness or the safety belt provided to restrain your child. If you see a shopping cart missing a seat belt or the seat belt is broken, select another shopping cart with a working seat belt, and tell the store manager so a replacement can be installed.  
  3. Never place your own infant carrier on top of a shopping cart. Use the infant seats, provided by the store, which are permanently attached and made part of the shopping cart.
  4. Do not let your child ride in the cart basket, under the basket, on the sides or front of the cart.
  5. Use the shopping carts that have a wheeled child carrier that is permanently attached and made part of the shopping cart. Some of these models look like cars or benches attached to the shopping cart.

“Safety precautions are important whenever a child is riding in a shopping cart, but especially for children ages three and under,” added Sage.

For more information, visit www.usa.safekids.org.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of  Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.