More than 262,000 children under the age of 15 were treated in US emergency rooms last year for toy-related injuries, according to a report issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today, Nov. 29. These injuries were not necessarily caused by the toys but were in some way related to toys.
Nonmotorized scooters, toy balls and riding toys made up 35 percent of injuries related to a specific toy. In 45 percent of the cases, injuries were to the child’s head or face; lacerations, contusions and abrasions made up 44 percent of the injuries and fractures made up 12 percent.
The report includes the horrific details of 13 toy-related fatalities, which include:
- Three children who died of asphyxiation after inhaling balloons;
- Three children who drowned, two after riding tricycles into swimming pools and one who went into a swimming pool to retrieve a ball;
- Two children who were struck by motor vehicles while riding scooters;
- An infant who died when a crib toy became detached from the rail and smothered the child;
- A 3-year-old girl who was entangled in a jump rope tied to a tree.
The CPSC is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to halt the import of dangerous toys into the United States. So far this year, the CBP has seized more than two million toys and children’s products that violate U.S. safety standards.
“Together with CPSC, we have intercepted record amounts of unsafe products. We are here to raise consumers’ awareness about the very real danger of unsafe products and urge consumers to be vigilant when buying toys and children’s products this holiday season.” — CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar.
The CPSC offers the following safety tips for consumers:
- Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8-years-old. Discard broken 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.
- Magnets – High powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children under 14. Building & play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
Once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before they become dangerous play things.
- 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.