Get Ready for the Holidays
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Injury Prevention Program
As soon as Halloween is over our thoughts begin to think
about Christmas. It has become a tradition to many to start their Christmas
shopping by Thanksgiving. Many of the stores have their Christmas decorations up
and are preparing for the rush of shoppers.
This issue of Break Point will guide you through the
tough decisions of gift giving for children. Toys are an integral part of
children’s growth and development, choosing toys that are safe will help them
grow mentally and physically.
Kick scooters the fad of the year, can kids keep safe?
Break Point will provide tips to help kids ride safely.
Having trouble finding new gift ideas for the adults in
your life? Break Point has a list of safe holiday gifts for everyone on your
Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock
Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program.
Please call us at (708) 327-2455 or email to: Kathy O'Day with any comments or questions.
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Holiday Safety Planner
Holiday carols will soon fill the air. We take great
measures to assure our holidays are memorable. However, we need to make just as
many preparations to assure they are safe. Your family will enjoy the beauty of
your decorations and stay safe if you follow these tips.
Artificial trees should be made of flame-retardant
Buy a fresh tree that smells like pine and be sure
its needles are hard to pull from the branches. Saw about two inches off the
trunk. Check the water level daily; never let it run dry.
Check old holiday light sets each year for cracks,
frayed sections, or broken wires before hanging them. Never use decorative
"indoor" light strings outdoors. Use no more than three standard
sets of lights per outlet.
Unplug all electrical decorations when leaving the
house or going to bed.
Use only UL or NOEL Laboratory-approved lights.
Decorate only with flame retardant or noncombustible materials.
Do not use electric lights on metallic trees; use
Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Smoke detectors and
fire extinguishers make thoughtful holiday gifts.
Keep candles, lighting wires and decorations out of
children's reach. Avoid decorations that resemble candy or food.
Keep toddlers away from the kitchen when cooking and
Poisonous holiday plants include holly berries,
mistletoe, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep them away from children and
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Santa's Little Helper - Buying Safe Toys for Christmas
Toys are fun and they help children learn about
themselves, their environment and the people around them. Unfortunately, some
toys can be dangerous. Poorly constructed toys or toys that are inappropriate
for your child's level of development can lead to tragic results.
Always remember that supervision is the most important
safety factor that you can provide to protect a child from harm, and that safety
and age appropriateness are the most important considerations when selecting a
toy for your children, your grandchildren, or any children you care for.
Here are some general rules to follow when choosing a toy
for your child:
- Have a close look at the toy. Inspect the toy to see whether it
looks well-designed and well made. Do you think it could withstand the
- Check for choking hazards. For small children, make sure the toy
and its parts are of a sufficiently large size. It is illegal for toys (and
their parts) suitable for children under 3 years of age to be so small that they
can be a choking hazard. As a guide, if a toy and/or one of its parts can fit
into a 35mm film canister, don't buy it for a child under 3.
- Look for sharp points or edges on the toy. Sharp points or edges
could easily injure your child. If a sharp point is essential to the function of
the toy, (toy sewing machine) make sure you give your child proper instruction
- Does the toy fit the developmental needs and skill of your child?
Toys that are meant for older children can be dangerous for young children.
- Be a label reader. Look for and follow age recommendations, and
instructions about proper assembly, use and supervision.
- Make sure your child understands any important instructions. Don't
simply rely on high prices and the opinions of others as a guide to safety
and quality. Closely inspect the toy yourself and use your own judgment.
Safety At Home
There are a number of things you can do at home to ensure
your child's play time is safe and toys are used safely:
- Always remove and immediately discard all packaging before giving it to a baby or
- Supervise your child's play. Proper toy construction and selection is not enough. It
is your responsibility to ensure your child is playing in a safe
environment. It is always best to explain and demonstrate to your child the
correct, safe use of the toy when first giving it to them and to supervise
your child during play.
- Care for toys. Check all toys regularly for breakage or potential hazards such as
a loose part which could be a choking danger. A damaged or dangerous toy
should be thrown away or repaired immediately.
- Keep toys (and parts of toys) designed for older children out of the hands of
little ones. Your child may like to be with an older playmate but some older
children's toys may not be safe for little ones to use without very close
- Store toys safely. Teach children to put their toys away on shelves or in a toy
box after playing to prevent trips or falls.
Toys for Children Under 3
By law, toys suitable for children under three years must
not be so small that a child could choke on them or release small parts that a
child could choke on.
Any toy or part of a toy that fits completely in a 35mm
film canister is considered dangerous as it could choke or be swallowed or
inhaled by a child under 3 years old.
Age labels on toys are only to be used as a guide.
Examples of toys suitable for children under 3 years of
- Toys to be grasped, shaken or rattled by small hands.
- Simple action toys for surprise or identifying sounds or pictures.
- Toys, including books, for recognizing basic letters and numbers.
- Toys for sorting large shapes that do not need finger dexterity.
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Gifts for Everyone on your List
Every year people spend hours shopping in stores and
thumbing through catalogues trying to find the gift for “the person who has
everything”. Thinking of the gifts to buy is almost as time consuming as going
to the store to purchase the gifts.
This year try putting together a safety basket. Tell the
people in your life you care about them and their safety. Choose some of the
gifts from the list or think of other safety minded gifts of your own.
Put together a basket with one or more of the following:
- Smoke detectors and batteries.
- A quality fire extinguisher.
- A flashlight, batteries or light sticks.
- A first-aid kit
- A carbon monoxide detector.
- A mobile phone and a calling card.
- A bicycle helmet
When buying new in-line skates, bicycle, scooter, or a
skateboard for the younger members on your list put together a package with
safety gear appropriate for the sport:
- Helmets, knee- pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.
- A multi-purpose helmet for inline skating and skateboarding and
extreme sport gloves
- Ski helmet and goggles that go with the new pair of skis.
- A soccer ball and shin guards and spikes.
Here is a list of other safety-minded gifts to choose:
- Booster seats for children between 40-80 pounds.
- Child safety devices, such as; electrical covers, toilet seat
locks, door knob covers and cabinet locks.
- For seniors, non-slip bathmat, night-lights for each of the rooms
in their house, carpet backing for area rugs or railings for the bathtub.
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Surf's Up- A guide To Internet Sites On The Web
Everyone could use extra help, especially around the
holidays. The web sites in this month’s Surf’s Up will give guides to safe toy buying and holiday safety.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
This web site has tips for safe toy buying. You may copy
the tip sheet and take it to the store to help guide you when purchasing toys for children under 12.
This web site provides easy to read articles that pertain
to holiday safety, winter driving and travelers safety. The web site also has articles on other interesting injury
American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is not only a site for
professionals, but has interesting articles to read for the lay- person too.
This site has articles that provide tips for the holiday season, such as;
holiday safety, Christmas tree safety and toy safety.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Super Sitter
This is the perfect site for parents of teenage babysitters
or for teen baby sitters. The “Super Sitter” guide provides tips to help
sitters prevent unintentional injuries to the children they care for.
Many people will be traveling, shopping or attending
parties and relying on babysitters to care for their children during the holiday
season. Print a copy for anyone you know who will be babysitting for children it
is an excellent resource!
*It is important to note that children who have access to the Internet should get permission from their parents first. Parents should observe their children while they use the Internet to help them avoid dangerous situations while they surf.
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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention
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