December, 2013:Deck the Halls!
It’s hard to believe that this is the season – already! – for gift-giving, whether Kwanzaa, Chanukah, or Christmas.
On the first of December this year, World AIDS Day occurs in which we try to remove the stigma of AIDS and discuss how we can all help those with it to remain healthy.
The first week of December is National Handwashing Awareness Week. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash you hands." Judicious hand washing can prevent not only common diseases like colds, but also more serious diseases like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea.
Additionally, if you are about to sneeze and cannot do so into a handkerchief, do not sneeze into the air or into your hand(s)! Sneeze into the crook of your elbow. This greatly reduces both spray into the air and hand-transfer of your germs to others.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States. 72% were to people less than 15 years of age. Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.
This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy.
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
- Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.
HAPPY, BLESSED HOLIDAYS AND WISHES FOR PEACE ON THIS PLANET FOR ALL.