The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a new report about toy safety in America. In 2015, there were 185,000 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries and 11 deaths in children ages 15 and younger.
The toy that caused the most trauma? Non-motorized scooters — 45 percent of the injuries were because of a scooter. Bumps, bruises and cuts were the most common injury, and the head and face were the most affected area.
Dr. Eric Higginbotham, who leads the emergency department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, recommends that parents inspect toys given to their children before giving them to them.
Higginbotham and the commission recommend looking out for toys that have these features:
- Magnets – Children’s magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that aims to prevent magnets from being swallowed.
- Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old. Discard torn balloons immediately.
- Small balls and other toys with small parts – For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Scooters and other riding toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit. Also look out for cars.
- Stuffed toys, dolls, doll accessories and toy figurines can cause suffocating.
- Water guns can cause drowning.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
When shopping for toys follow these tips:
- Study the label: It’s important to know how to properly use the toy. Read warning labels and instruction manuals to learn about proper play, and then give your child pointers on safe use.
- Shop for age-appropriate toys: Check the packaging for age limitations. Later, keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Go big: To prevent choking, make sure the toys are too large to fit inside your child’s mouth.
- Buy safety gear: For bikes, skateboards and similar toys, make sure your child is properly fitted with a helmet and pads.
- Check the sound levels: Avoid any toys that are too loud to prevent hearing damage.
- Beware of battery operated toys: Make sure your little one can’t remove the battery. “Button-style” batteries can cause potentially fatal internal burning when swallowed.
- Look for non-toxic toys: Make sure toys don’t contain toxic materials that could be poisonous.
- No matter what, supervise your child: Any toy can be dangerous without parental supervision.