NHM Health Focus:
Safe Toys and Gifts
As the Holiday gift giving season approaches, so does the challenge
of selecting the right gift for each recipient. While we want each gift to
be appropriate, appreciated, and above all, safe,
this is often not as easy as we would like.
The scope of the problem is much larger than most of us realize. Many gifts, especially toys and items for younger people need to be both safe and age appropriate. Last year (2008), an estimated 82,000 children under the age of five were treated in U.S. hospital emergency
rooms after toy-related incidents. In the same year, nineteen children died from toy related injuries. (USPIRG)
For more on this issue see the CPSC
(Consumer Product Safety Commission) recall list. Among the items reviewed are
other child and infant items.
Another tip: Gifts of food should be safe and free of allergens harmful to the recipient. The FDA
(Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA
(US Department of Agriculture) share responsibility for food safety and provide safety tips as well as recall information.
For a combined listing of recalls ordered by six U. S. Government Agencies
check Recalls.org. Each of these agencies has its own has responsibility for a different set of products:
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
15,000 types of consumer products, from coffee makers, to toys;
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Motor vehicles, motor vehicle equipment, and car seat performance
- Food and Drug Adminsitration
Food, drugs, cosmetics, radiation, medical devices, and veterinary medicines
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food safety and inspections
- Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental risks and problems including pollutants and naturally
occuring compounds linked to health problems such as chemical exposure hazards from toys.
Help is available:
More helpful guidelines, tips, and warnings are linked in the sidebar. With informed selection, the gift you give can be appropriate, appreciated, and SAFE!
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources
related to safe toys and gifts: