Check product recalls and safety news and report incidents with products that cause injury at U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or call the CPSC Hotline: 1-800-638-2772. For more information about giving safe toys and gifts to children this year, please visit Prevent Blindness America.
- Magnets—For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
- Small Parts—For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Ride-on Toys—Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.
- Projectile Toys—Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
- Chargers and Adapters—Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
View Shop Smart, Shop Safe Brochure
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During New Year and the Fourth of July holiday people often celebrate with fireworks, but if used improperly fireworks can cause serious injury or burns. To ensure a safe holiday the Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that parents protect children from injury by preventing them from using fireworks and leaving it to the professionals.
In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2014 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head.
The safest way to enjoy a fireworks display is at a community-sanctioned, licensed event. Alabama law allows only consumer fireworks, formerly known as class C fireworks. Some municipalities (including Montgomery) outlaw fireworks altogether. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission prevents large numbers of hazardous fireworks from reaching consumers. Illegal mail order kits contain chemical mixtures that can explode unexpectedly and violently. M-80s, cherry bombs and quarter sticks are so highly explosive that they have been banned by federal law since 1966. Working with the U.S. Customs Service since 1988, CPSC has seized or detained more than 400 million hazardous fireworks at docks across the country.
If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Discuss safety procedures with children, including teaching them to “stop, drop and roll.”
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
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While planning your Halloween activities and choosing costumes for your children, keep in mind some safety tips to avoid injury. According to the National SAFEKIDS Campaign, children are four times more likely to die as pedestrians on Halloween night than any other night of the year. There is also an increase in burns and falls during Halloween activities.
To avoid falls from cumbersome costumes, dangerous treats and risky activity on Halloween night the Alabama Department of Public Health recommends parents and children follow these safety tips:
- Avoid masks. Instead, apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. This is safer than a loose fitting mask that can obstruct a child’s vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut the eye holes large enough for full vision.
- Give trick-or-treaters flashlights.
- Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
- Secure hats so they will not slip over children’s eyes.
- Dress children in shoes that fit. Adult shoes are not safe for trick-or-treaters. The larger size makes it easier for them to trip and fall.
- Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
- Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with reflective tape and stickers or use costumes that are light or bright enough to make children more visible at night.
- Look for flame-resistant labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs. Also, avoid costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy, sleeves or billowing skirts which can come in contact with an exposed flame such as a candle.
- Parents should warn children to bring their treats home before eating them so that they can ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed.
- Inspect fruit surfaces closely for punctures or holes, wash fruit thoroughly and cut each piece open before allowing a child to eat it.
- Throw away any suspicious fruits, candy, toys, novelty items or items small enough to present a choking hazard.
- Teach children to walk, not run, while trick-or-treating. Darting out into the street is one of the most common causes of pedestrian death among children.
- Remind children to stop at all street corners before crossing. Tell them to cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks.
- Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing the street and to continue looking both ways as they cross.
- Warn children to only go to houses or apartments where they know the residents. Accompany children under the age 12 on their trick-or-treat rounds.
- If possible, parents should provide unattended children over the age of 12 with cell phones for emergencies.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre-established route.
- Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
- Set a time for children to return home.
- Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated.
- Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawn ornaments and clotheslines are “hidden hazards” in the dark. Tell your children to stay on the sidewalk at all times.
View Halloween Safety Tips Brochure
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