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Preventing Toy Injuries During Holidays

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

“Tis the season” for holiday traditions, family gatherings, and plenty of gift giving! Many families anticipate Christmas morning when children’s faces light up as they open their presents. While this occasion is exciting for both adults and children alike, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) would like to remind consumers to keep safety in mind when selecting children’s gifts this year.

Safe Kids USA reports that there are approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries in the United States each year, and 15 children younger than 14 years of age die from a toy-related incident annually. Riding toys, such as scooters and tricycles, are associated with more injuries than any other toys, and balloons and small play balls account for many choking deaths. Males account for 58 percent of all toy-related injuries. Children younger than 3 years old are at a higher risk for choking on small toys, and children under 8 years of age are at a higher risk for choking on uninflated or broken balloons. Most, if not all, of these injuries can be prevented.

Last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its annual holiday toy safety precautions for consumers. In order to choose the “right toy for the right child,” the CPSC encourages consumers to read product labels to ensure that the product is appropriate for the child’s age, skill, and interest level, and check product recalls regularly on the CPSC Web site at cpsc.gov. CPSC has also identified the following “Top 5 Toy Hazards”:

1. Scooters and other riding toys: Riding toys, skateboards, and in-line skates go fast and falls may cause serious injury and/or death. Appropriately sized helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times.

2. Small balls and toys with small parts: For children younger than 3 years old, avoid toys with small parts; they may cause choking.

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3. Balloons: Children under 8 years of age can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Keep uninflated balloons away from children and discard broken balloons immediately.

4. Magnets: Avoid building or play sets with small magnets for children younger than 6 years old. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, they can cause serious injury and/or death.

5. Chargers and adapters: Adults should supervise charging batteries for toys. Chargers and adapters may cause thermal burn hazards to children.

Additional tips to prevent injuries this holiday season include:

· Monitor Children: Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of their reach. Make sure toys are used properly.

· Practice fire safety: Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Use alternative heating devices properly as indicated by the manufacturer. Develop and practice a fire escape plan.

· Travel safely: Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to the child's height, weight, and age. Don't drink and drive, and don't let anyone else drink and drive.