For restaurants promoting gift donations for children, the most important thing we should think about is their safety. December is declared “National Safe Toys and Gifts Month” to ensure we are careful when making toy and gift choices, and to keep in mind their safety and suitability. Since many restaurants in Hawaii traditionally host toy and gift drives to provide for families who need a little help with giving their children a joyful holiday season, we want to help encourage promoting donations that are safe.
On average, emergency rooms in the U.S. treat one child every three minutes for a toy-related accident or injury. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 250,000 toy-related injuries for 2014 and a total of 61 deaths over a four-year period. Reports also state that there have been at least 19 different types of toys that have been identified as having safety defects over the last two years, and the recalls for these items totaled over 800,000 toys.
Since the holiday season accounts for roughly 65% of the annual toy sales nationwide, we compiled a list of recommended guidelines to help restaurants ensure their donation gift drives collect safe toys for children:
- Only accept unwrapped toys
- Be clear about the age range you are providing toys for so donors can get age appropriate items
- Request toys that have passed the safety inspections by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM)
- If donations include motorized gifts, request that the appropriate personal safety equipment also be provided (e.g. helmet for scooters or bikes)
- Do not accept small magnetized items
- Only accept non-toxic crayons, markers, or other art supplies
- Stay away from items that contain chemical toxins or other potentially harmful substances such as lead and flame-retardants.
- Avoid toys with:
- small parts, ropes, or heating elements
- parts that disassemble easily
- sharp edges
Keep in mind that toy-related injuries are preventable when providing children with age appropriate toys that have passed the proper inspections and safety protocols. Taking a proactive approach to identifying toys that could pose a safety threat to a child just might save a life. For more tips on choosing safe toys, please visit ToySafety.org and PreventBlindness.org.
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