The holiday season is a time for joy, but accidents can and do happen. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an about 254,200 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2015. Of these injuries, 73 percent happened to children under the age of 15 and 35 percent happened to children under the age of 5.
Cuts, scrapes, and bruises were the most common toy-related injuries, with most injuries affecting the head or face. Out of a total of 50 categories of toys, non-motorized scooters were involved in one out of every four injuries.
Safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season:
- Choose toys and age-appropriate gifts for children.
- Supervise young children at all times.
- Magnets – Children’s magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that aims to prevent magnets from being swallowed. High-powered magnet sets that do not meet CPSC’s lifesaving standard are not permitted.
- 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.
Once gifts are open:
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- 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.
Concerns about Lead:
Children may be exposed to lead—a well-known health hazard. Toys that have been made in other countries and then imported into the United States or antique toys and collectibles passed down through generations put children at risk for such exposure. To reduce these risks, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues recalls of toys that could potentially expose children to lead.
CPSC asks that parents check for recalls of their children’s toys and take the toys away immediately if they have been recalled. Photos and descriptions of recalled toys can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov or by calling 1-800-638-2772.