Five Tips for Safe Summer Play from the Toy Industry Association|
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)-- May 22, 2009 The warm days of summer are fast approaching and kids of all ages will soon be hitting beaches, parks and backyards to enjoy the outdoor play that makes the season so much fun. From gardening and building sets to sidewalk chalk and scooters, and from bubbles and water blasters to bicycles and skateboards, a broad range of outdoor toys will help to entertain the young and the young at heart.
“Memorial Day Weekend is a perfect time for parents and kids to pick their toys for the season and get ready to enjoy more outdoor play, exercise, and a healthy, relaxed lifestyle,” says Julie Livingston of the Toy Industry Association.
To help assure that every play date is a safe one, TIA offers parents the following toy-related tips for a safe, active and fun summer:
1. Pay close attention to the age appropriate guidelines on toy product packaging.
Age labeling is a safety precaution and is based on children's developmental skills and ability at a given age-- and the appropriateness of the toy for that age. Age labeling does not pertain to the intelligence of a child so you never want to select toys marked with an age younger than the child's age.
2. Make adult supervision a crucial element of outdoor play.
Children are quick and inquisitive. They should never be left alone near water sources (pools, inflatable kiddie pools, beaches, etc.) ... not even for a moment. Water toys should be kept out of sight or out of reach when not being used so children are not tempted to play in or near the water alone.
NOTE: The Safe Kids USA website features more water safety tips, including a Memorial Day Pledge for parents.
3. Buckle children up with helmets, knee pads and other protective gear when playing with ride-on toys.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a comprehensive set of bicycle safety tips in honor of National Bike Safety Month. Buckling up is equally important for other ride-on toys, including tricycles, scooters, skateboards and skates. Visit the CPSC website for tips on how to make sure helmets fit properly and comfortably so that kids will not take them off.
4. Keep young bodies protected from the sun and heat. Outdoor play areas should be covered to protect sensitive children’s skin from the sun’s intense rays. Children should wear hats, 100% UVA sunglasses, and a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB Protection) when playing outdoors. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply every two hours or after prolonged contact with water.
Studies show that children do not always experience thirst before dehydration, so it is important that they drink plenty of fluids during and after play, even when they do not feel thirsty.
5. Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips and falls. Large, plastic bins with lids are perfect for organizing and storing smaller toys; bins should be marked by name so that toys for children of differing ages can be easily separated. An outdoor shed should be set up with designated “parking” spaces near the door for bicycles and other ride-on toys; smaller items like skateboards and skates should be hung off ground-level or stored on shelves.
Longer days and warm nights also provide opportunities to help kids learn more about science and nature in a fun, engaging way, adds Livingston.
- Bubbles and bubble toys are a perennial outdoor favorite that can help young scientists learn the basics of aerodynamics. (Remember to rinse bubble toys with water and refill with fresh bubble solution prior to each use to keep impurities out of the mix and maintain bubble solution strength.)
- Little explorers will enjoy role-playing a scientist with child-sized binoculars or night vision goggles, an insect collection container or bug vacuum, as well as insect listening devices which tickle the imagination. Child-size terrariums and observatories allow budding biologists to learn and take on responsibility while they’re growing and caring for living things such as insects, plants and flowers.
- Help children document summertime activities by introducing digital photography as a new creative outlet. Making a digital scrapbook can bring generations of families together and also keep the memories of summer alive year round.
For additional information on safe play and tips on toy selection, visit www.toyinfo.org.
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TIA is the not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing over 500 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy sales. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety including development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago, and working with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe play. Safe and fun play is the number one priority of the toy industry.
For more information, visit www.toyassociation.org, www.toycertification.org or www.toyinfo.org.