The Florida Department of Health and Safe Kids Florida remind Floridians to put safety first when purchasing toys and gifts for children during the holiday season. Parents and caregivers can ensure they are choosing safe toys for their children by paying close attention to warning labels and manufacturer's guidelines.
According to Deputy Secretary for Health Jean Kline, more than 65 percent of the toys bought in the United States are purchased between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
"Even though most toys in the U.S. today are considered to be safe, buyers should still be careful. Only a small fraction of the approximate 3-billion toys sold in the U.S. every year are recalled from dangerous lead paint and magnets, but this still amounts to millions of toys," Kline said.
To ensure children's safety, buy age-appropriate toys, identify dangerous small parts, inspect toys to make sure they are in good repair, actively supervise children and practice proper storage.
Each year, about 217,000 toy-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide. On average, however, only 15 children younger than 14 die from a toy-related injury. Adults should pay attention to the instructions specified by the manufacturer, including a minimum age requirement or other restrictions.
To stay informed, Safe Kids Florida recommends that parents and caregivers sign up for e-mails that will keep them up-to-date on recalls. Relying solely on updates from television, newspapers or other sources may result in missed information. To sign up for recall e-mails, visit www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.
Defects or design features that seem dangerous can be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by calling toll-free 1-800-638-2772 or at www.cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall.
The Department of Health promotes, protects and improves the health of all people in Florida. For information about toy safety, visit the Safe Kids Web site at www.safekids.org. Safe Kids Florida works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and younger. The organization is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Florida's lead organization is the Department of Health Office of Injury Prevention. For information, visit the www.doh.state.fl.us/injury.
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The Mease Countryside Hospital cancer resource library, newly named the Evelyn R. Simmers Oncology Resource Library, is now a warm, inviting environment for cancer patients and their families. A contribution of $250,000 from the estate of Evelyn Simmers to the Auxiliary of Mease Health Care paid for the renovation.
"Cancer patients and their families may spend many days, even weeks at the hospital," said Henry Loscher, auxiliary president, Mease Health Care. "We wanted to create a space that felt less like a hospital and more like a home for them. They can visit the library and research cancer topics while relaxing in soft, comfortable chairs, surrounded by warm light and wood flooring."
The library is on the oncology floor of the Shaffer Tower at Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor. Access to all library resources is free.
A portion of the Simmers family contribution will also fund for one year the Morton Plant Mease Mammography Voucher Program that will provide free mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies to women without health insurance and who meet income requirements. Additionally, the contribution has paid for the purchase of a CareLift van. CareLift vans annually provide more than 13,000 free transports for patients to and from Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin hospitals.
For information on these programs, call (727) 725-6111.