LEGAZPI CITY – With only less than two weeks to go before Christmas Day, the Department of Health in Bicol (DOH-5) has urged parents and others who will buy toys as gifts for children, to choose safe and appropriate ones for their age.
In a press conference on Monday, Dr. Monrey Isaiah Mancilla, DOH-5 non-communicable disease cluster chief, said many people buy toys based on their affordability, attractiveness, color and packaging, with the quality and safety features are often an afterthought.
He said a safe toy is defined by the DOH as “one that is suitable to the child’s physical capabilities and mental and social development, is appealing and interesting, well-constructed, durable and safe for the child’s age.”
“Always check the labels on the packaging of toys and observe precautions appearing on the labels. Pag meron na po kayong nakita mga chemicals tulad ng cadmium, lead and mercury (If you see these chemicals such as cadmium, lead and mercury), they would adversely affect children's health. Kapag nakita niyo po yon, wag niyo nang bibilhin (If you see these, don't buy the toy). Also, there are materials in the market or online without the label, this is not actually allowed, and definitely do not buy it because it did not undergo the correct process and not checked by the right agency," Mancilla said.
He said Republic Act (RA) 10620 or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013 tells the public to be more cautious of the toys they are buying.
"Toys that are imported, donated, distributed, and sold in the Philippines shall comply with the appropriate provisions on safety labeling and manufacturer's markings found in the Philippine National Standards for the safety of toys," he said.
Mancilla also said parents must ensure that their children play with toys suited for their age and with adult supervision.
"For newborns to one year old, the DOH suggests toys such as rattles, large, brightly colored balls, unbreakable mirrors (with steel borders especially made for babies), washable stuffed dolls or animals with big clearly outlined faces. While for 2-3 years old (toddlers), wooden animals, dolls, sturdy kiddy cars, modeling clay and rocking horses, and for 4-5 years old (preschoolers) puppets, push toys, building blocks, balls and kites," he said.
Mancilla also reminded the public to dispose of plastic packaging accordingly and keep it out of the reach of children.
“Mahalaga ang buhay. Tiyakin natin na ang ireregalong laruan ay magdadala ng saya at hindi disgrasya. Salubungin natin ang Bagong Taon ng ligtas, masaya at puno ng pag-asa (Life is important. Let's make sure that the gift toy will bring joy and not misfortune. Let's welcome the New Year safely, happily and full of hope),” he said. (PNA)