National Public Health Week Injury Prevention Begins at PLAY

April 6, 2011

The West Central Health District is pleased to celebrate National Public Health Week, which is sponsored by the American Public Health Association. National Public Health Week will be held April 4-10, 2011 and seeks to educate the public, policy-makers and public health professionals about issues important to improving public health. This year’s theme is “Safety is No Accident:  Live Injury Free.”

In observance of National Public Health Week, on Wednesday, April 6th, the West Central Health District would like to remind the public that injury prevention starts at play.  Each year, an estimated 169,300 toy-related injuries in children ages 14 years and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the United States. Parent and caregivers are encouraged to buy age appropriate toys and are following important toy safety guidelines.

Top five tips for making sure children’s toys are safe:

  • Before shopping for toys, consider the child's age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.
  • Make sure toys intended for older children are stored separately from those for younger children.
  • Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3. They can choke on small toys and toy parts.
  • Check regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of the reach of children.
  • Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys as well as any toy that has small balls and small parts, magnets, electrical or battery power, cords and strings, wheels or any other potential hazard. Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising. Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach while paying undivided attention.

The Columbus Department of Public Health reminds parents that most toys are safe, however if secondhand toys are purchased, or received from friends or relatives, parents are advised to visit www.cpsc.gov and make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Used toys should also be in good condition with all original parts and packaging, if possible. If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.

To stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace, parents can go to www.recalls.gov and sign up for email alerts on recalled children’s products.