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Safe Toys For The Holidays

By Amy O’Rourke, RN, BSN

Christmas is a time for giving, however during this holiday season consumers should be thinking about what types of gifts they are giving to children. 50 percent of toy related injuries result in an ER visit. Many toy-related deaths are caused by choking or strangulation. Riding toys including non-motorized scooters and tricycles are associated with more injuries than any other toy group.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works to protect consumers from products that could cause harm such as toys, cribs, and power tools. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required the CPSC to issue labeling requirements for toys and games. The Child Safety Protection Act requires choking hazard warning labels. This act also bans any toys that could pose a choking, aspiration or ingestion hazard for children under 3 years of age.  When purchasing toys for your children it is very important to look at these warning labels. Buy age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels. Check regularly for damage to toys, breakage or potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately or discard damaged toys out of children’s reach. Toys with strings, straps, cords, ribbons and loops can be a strangulation hazard to a child. These toys should never be hung in cribs or playpens where children can potentially become entangled.
Toys can cause harm even though labeling is correct, so some thought still needs put into the toys you buy. Some of this years “worst toys” have potential for impact injuries, choking, strangulation and eye injuries. High powered magnets if swallowed could cause serious harm within a child’s intestines, even death. Any item with a varying age could be risky. Age is not always good to go by either. A toy may be labeled for the appropriate age, but knowing the child it is to be given to should be considered as well.
Thoughtful gift giving can make your holiday season both enjoyable and safe.
• In 2009, more than 49,500 injuries to children were treated in emergency departments due to injuries associated with nonmotorized scooters.
• Approximately 50 percent of toy-related injuries resulting in emergency department visits occurred to children under 5 years of age.
• In 2009, males accounted for 58 percent of all toy-related injuries.
• Check the web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for updated information and pictures of recalled toys that may be harmful to children (www.cpsc.gov).

 If you are shopping for young children, take a look at this year’s “10 Worst Toys” list. We have also provided a list of websites to help you make safe purchases below.
The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists
Potential for blunt impact injuries and there are no warnings on the package.
Playful Xylophone
Potential for choking injuries.
Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet
Potential for impact and puncture wound injuries.
Water Balloon Launcher
Potential for choking and facial injuries. Varying age recommendations online and on the package.
N-Force Vendetta Double Sword
Potential for Impact injuries.
Explore & Learn Helicopter
Potential for strangulation and entanglement injuries. Cord is twice the length allowed by law.
Spinner Shark 4-Wheel Kneeboard
Potential for impact injuries.
Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 Dart Gun
Potential for eye injuries.
Bongo Ball
Potential for impact and other serious injuries. Children are encouraged to climb inside the inflatable ball. The toy and the packaging have contradicting instructions about supervision.
Magnetic Fishing Game
Potential for choking injuries. Different age recommendations online and on the packaging.

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this web site are not a recommendation or endorsement of products, services or providers. Links to other Web sites from this site are provided for convenience and do not constitute or imply endorsement.
Effort is taken to insure accurate information, however we cannot guarantee completeness or timeliness.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    As someone who has young nieces and nephews and reviews kids’s games and toys, I am very aware of the potential for injury and want to thank you for your article which covers some very important issues.

    While some toys are labelled as not being suitable for children under the age of 3, kids 5, 6 and older are not immune to choking or being hit by pieces flying off toys or, in some cases, projectiles. Injuries as a result of this may be very minor, but there is always the potential for serious injury occurring to an eye.

    As an animal lover I’d also like to point out that our furry friends can also inadvertently find themselves in the firing line, so I urge parents to be look out for both their kids and pets alike.

    Happy Holidays everyone and stay safe!

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