Iowans are being reminded to think about safety when it comes to Christmas gifts for kids. The consumer advocacy group Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released a report this week about toys on the market that pose safety hazards.
PIRG spokesperson Sonia Ashe said even the decorations on Christmas packages can be dangerous. She said items that are less than one-and-a-quarter inches in diameter present a choking hazard for kids under three. “So, if you’re attaching little balls to wrapped presents, those can be choking hazards,” Ashe said at press conference at Des Moines’ Blank Children’s Hospital.
Doctor Vidya Chande is the medical director of Blank’s pediatric emergency department. She advises adults to remove any hard plastic packaging BEFORE wrapping up Christmas toys – or at least open those hard-to-open packages themselves.
“Every Christmas morning, what we see without fail is children who have used scissors to try and open these plastic (covered) toys and it takes a lot more force than they think to open,” Chande explained. “They end up with some pretty deep cuts, usually on their left hand if they’re right handed, so parents should be the ones to open those packages even though kids are very excited about it.”
Chande said it’s also important to consider age designations on toys because they often refer to safety concerns. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 175,000 children, nationwide, ended up in the emergency room due to a toy related injury last year.