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Thursday, December 12, 2013
For children, toys and fun go hand in hand. But some toys can pose dangers, making it important for parents to consider carefully what their children play with.
In 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that about 192,000 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 15 were treated in hospital emergency departments. Most of these incidents involved:
Toys have also caused death among children, including:
Choosing Safe Toys
If you are planning to buy toys for a child, consider the following guidelines suggested by Prevent Blindness America:
Do not buy toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children. These can wrap around a child’s neck. In addition, keep in mind that certain toys can often lead to toy-related injuries:
After children have opened new toys, immediately remove the plastic packaging to prevent suffocation. Keep cords and strings out of reach because of the risk of strangulation. Children will often try to play with anything they can reach if you let them. You should also inspect toys for quality and durability and explain to your child how to use the toy.
Supervise children when they play. Always have children use any toy labeled “supervision required” in the presence of an adult. Even a quiet activity such as a craft with scissors, glue, and markers has the potential for injury.
When children are done playing, pick up and put away all toys to avoid tripping or falling on objects.
Toys are sometimes recalled for safety concerns. Information about recalled toys and other products is posted at http://www.recalls.gov/. If you discover that a toy you own has been recalled, return it to the manufacturer or throw it away. Do not try to fix it, keep it, or give it away.
Paint and plastic parts of toys can include lead, especially if they are made outside of the United States. Because children like to put toys in their mouths, this can be a source of lead exposure, which can cause very serious health problems. Check Recalls.gov to find out about recalls of toys with lead.
More Buying Tips
Visit the websites below for more information about safe gift-buying for children this season.
By taking these precautions and being aware of risks, toys will remain a fun part of the holiday season.
Source: Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2012, United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Last Reviewed: Dec 10, 2013
Gary A Smith, MD, DrPH
Professor of Pediatrics
Professor at The College of Public Health
Professor of Emergency Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University