The holiday season is in full swing.

In many circles, this means children receiving gifts; however, the opening of packages requires awareness and safety, which is why Prevent Blindness America declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), “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.”

Although the awareness falls in December, the following APHA guidelines are important all year:

  • Inspect all toys before purchasing
  • When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to:
    • Choose toys that may appeal to different senses
    • Consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others
    • Think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it
  • Be diligent about inspecting the toys your child receives
  • Look for safety inspection labels (ATSM means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Material standards)
  • Keep kids safe from lead in toys
  • Do NOT give toys with small parts to young children
  • Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”

For more safety information, visit for a safe toy checklist, for choosing safe toys information, and for lead poisoning information.

Remember to practice these safe toy guidelines all year long.