December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month and believe it or not, injuries stemming from toys are much more common than you’d believe. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 252,000 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms in 2014. Almost half of these injuries affected the head or face. Further, one of 10 children’s eye injuries in the ER traces is caused by toys. The majority of these injuries occur to children under the age of 15.
Based on the most recent data and input from physicians, here is a selection of tools and tips that can help you understand safety both when toy shopping and when lighting the menorah.
Toy Safety Tips
Above everything else, when buying toys, you want to make sure toys are age-appropriate for your specific child while making sure toys you purchase don’t have warnings or recall notices. You should avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts. Following the chaotic opening of gifts, exercise proper parental supervision. Hazardous toys and games can easily cause eye injury.
In addition, when purchasing sports equipment, gift protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses as well. The exact type of eyewear can differ depending on what sport, so consult a specialist. Also, check labels for age recommendations and make sure they are appropriate for a child’s age and maturity.
Finally, keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children, and if your young one does experience an injury from a toy, consult a medical professional immediately.
Each year during Chanukah, we learn about the many home fires caused by the menorah. During a five-year period from 2012-2016, candles caused 2 percent of reported home fire deaths, 7 percent of home fire injuries, and 4 percent of the direct property damage in home fires. We should be aware of the following safety tips:
- If purchasing a new menorah, buy one that’s sturdy and made of fire-safe materials.
- Do not use prefilled oil in plastic cups (jellied and not).
- Put the menorah on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
- Clear the table where you put your menorah of all flammable materials like papers and plastic items. Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn.
- If you are going to display your menorah in your window, make sure that your curtains are not too close to the candle flames. More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.
- Know where your fire extinguisher is located. Water will not put out an oil fire—rather, it will spread the fire! And fire extinguishers only last 10-12 years and then need to be replaced. So check them to be sure they are still working.
- Keep children and animals away from the menorah and don’t leave it unattended.
In case of a home fire, call 911 immediately, get out and stay out! Home fires account for 90 percent of all fire-related deaths. If, chas v’shalom, a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape.
Do some planning—check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Have a home fire escape plan. Conduct a safety inspection.
About Hudson Regional Hospital
Hudson Regional Hospital offers preventive and other services both on inpatient and outpatient basis. Patients can inquire about these services or schedule appointments by contacting the hospital directly, either via telephone at (201) 392-3100 or email at info@HudsonRegionalHospital.com. Patients facing medical emergencies should proceed directly to the emergency room. The emergency room contact number is (201) 392-3210. For a tour of the new Hudson Regional Hospital or to meet the owner and executive, physicians should call George Matyjewicz at (201) 392-3436 or email GMatyjewicz@HudsonRegional.com.