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Keeping Children Safe This Holiday Season

As Thanksgiving approaches, dedicated shoppers know that Black Friday, arguably the best shopping day of the year, is not far behind. Many Americans get all of their holiday shopping done in that single day, if they are willing to get up early and are able to continue to shop all day. As parents begin to fulfill their children's holiday wishes, officials advise that they keep toy safety in mind in order to avoid injuries caused by defective products. Luckily, keeping children safe from harmful or dangerous toys does not require much more than simple common sense.

According to national reports, approximately 50 percent of all toys sold in the U.S. are purchased in the weeks between Black Friday and Christmas day. While the federal toy safety standards passed by Congress in 2008 have greatly improved the general safety of toys, injuries are still unfortunately common. Every year, approximately 170,000 children under 14 suffer toy-related injuries severe enough to require emergency room treatment.

An easy way for parents to stay on top of potential safety issues in toys is to ensure they are informed of relevant toy recalls. At recalls.gov, parents can sign up for email alerts to inform them of newly recalled defective products. In addition, if a new toy comes with a product registration card, parents should fill it out and mail it in to ensure they are contacted by the manufacturer in the event of a recall.

Many accidents and injuries occur because a child is given a toy that is not appropriate for his or her age or skill level. Parents should always inspect a toy's packaging and given information to ensure that it is suitable for their child. If children of different ages live in the same household, keep toys stored separately, and make especially sure that toys with small parts or electrical power are kept away from young children.

Source: Cache Valley Daily, "Toy safety tips for the holiday season", 18 November 2010

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