It may be true that we become more skeptical with age, but I was surprised after reading about a new threat to kids’ safety on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Beat website. This is scary!
They’re small and green, but they’re not goblins– and they look like Tic-Tac™ candies. This recent threat to kids’ well being has just made its debut in the over-the-counter purchase-from-the drugstore category. Childsafetyblog.org is speaking of “Nicotine Tablets.” The tablets are flavored with mint or cinnamon and may look like breath mints or candy–and are supposed to aid those who wish to quit smoking by providing nicotine without tobacco smoke. (They also may be sold in a stick form and look like candy cigarettes.)
According to Greg Connolly of Harvard’s School of Public Health in a study published in the journal Pediatrics, if a one-year-old child would consume 10 of the candy-like pellets, “In all likelihood, they are going to have serious neurological problems.”
Apparently, both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are aware of these nicotine tablets. Now, let’s see if they make them “only available by prescription” to adults.
Meanwhile, if your kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween, please review their candy haul. Ask them to bring the candy home before consuming it, so you can have a good look.
While we know it’s only just Halloween, people are saying scary things like, “There are only 57 shopping days until Christmas.” As parents, family members, and caregivers begin combing the stores for the best, safest toys, we had better be ready for what’s out there, do our homework, and know how to tackle this safe toy search!
Here are some tips suggested in a recent article by Elizabeth Pantley on buying safe toys for your baby:
- When you purchase a child’s toy, no matter how bright you believe your little one, note the child’s age ranking on the box. The age ranking is often there for a safety reason.
- If a toy is painted, make sure it’s painted with non-toxic paint.
- If toys have more than one piece, make sure to check for small, loose or detachable pieces that could become separated from the toy and be a choking hazard.
- Check all children’s toys you purchase for any rough, jagged, or sharp edges, and rusted or broken parts. You can report those toys to the store’s manager. (Managers usually have the power to send faulty products back to the distributors.)
- Safely pitch any plastic wrapping on children’s toys long before the holidays. Wrap toys in colorful paper yourself.
- For babies, avoid pull toys with long cords.
- Never give babies balloon-type toys or toys with inflatable balls which could burst or break off from the toy and become lodged in the throat.
- If your baby has a toy box in his or her room, make sure it has a safety lid or no lid at all to avoid pinched fingers or hands, or entrapment of the child.
Let’s make childhood less scary and more safe for our kids!
With appreciation to DHHS HealthBeat website, posting by Ira Dreyfuss, October 29, 2010, and
Just the Facts, Baby’s posting by Elizabeth Pantley, “The Safest Toys for Your Baby”, October 6, 2010.