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Toy-Related Injuries Hurt Over 200,000 Children Each Year: Tips for Parents

According to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fewer children are suffering injuries related to their toys. Between 2014 and 2018, there was a decline in the number of injuries associated with all toys, which is good news.

The bad news is that in 2018, there were still an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Of those, an estimated 73 percent happened to children younger than 15 years of age, 70 percent happened to children under twelve, and 37 percent to those younger than five.

The holiday season tends to be a particularly dangerous time when it comes to toys and child safety. World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) recently released its nominees for the 10 worst toys of 2019, urging parents to consider safety when buying presents.

CPSC Reports on Toy-Related Injuries and Fatalities in 2018

In addition to the estimated injuries in 2018, the CPSC also received reports of 17 toy-related deaths among children younger than 15 years old. Nonmotorized scooters were associated with three of those, and all were due to motor vehicle involvement. In one incident, for example, a toddler was struck and killed by a motor vehicle while riding a modified stand-up scooter in the parking lot of a motel.

Rubber balls and balloons were involved in three other fatalities due to airway obstruction. Other deaths were associated with stuffed toys, water toys, plastic toy foods, water guns, and toy dart guns, due to airway obstruction or drowning.

The most common types of injuries were lacerations, followed by contusions/abrasions. Fractures ranked third and were the most common type of injury for all age groups except for children younger than five years old. For the under-five group, internal injuries, foreign body, and ingestion each accounted for more estimated injuries than fractures.

How Parents Can Increase Toy Safety

The University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center reminds parents to consider safety when buying holiday gifts. While most parents may think about what their children want or will like, it’s also wise to consider whether the toy is age-appropriate and will be unlikely to cause injury.

The UVM suggests these four tips for finding safe holiday toys:

  1. Read the label. Check the warning labels, instructions, and age recommendations, and look for any small pieces that may present a choking hazard.
  2. Get a helmet. If you’re getting something the child will ride on, such as a bike, scooter, skateboard, skis, or snowboards, make sure you get a helmet to go with it.
  3. Put toys away. Consider using a toy chest for toy storage, and teach children to put their toys away after playing with them so they aren’t sitting around where they can cause injury.
  4. Check product recalls. Safe Kids compiles product recalls and sends twice-monthly e-mail alerts. Parents can sign up here.

W.A.T.C.H. lists the following as the most dangerous toys of 2019 and suggests parents think twice before bringing these home.

  1. Nerve Ultra One: potential for eye injuries—darts can fly up to 120 feet.
  2. Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog: potential for choking injuries.
  3. Bunchems! Bunch ’n Build: potential for hair entanglement and choking.
  4. Yeti: potential for ingestion and aspiration if the child pulls hair out of the doll.
  5. Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime: potential for ingestion and irritation.
  6. Anstoy Electronic Toy Gun: potential for eye injuries and can confuse children when it comes to real weapons.
  7. Diecast School Bus: potential for choking hazard because of the removable label and wheels.
  8. Pogo Trick Board: potential for head and impact injuries. Get a helmet.
  9. Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw: potential for eye and facial injuries from the plastic claw.
  10. Viga Pull Along Caterpillar: potential for strangulation and entanglement injuries with the string.

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