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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
For children, toys and fun go hand in hand. But some toys can pose dangers, and it is important for parents to consider carefully what their children play with.
In 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that there were about 170,100 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 15 treated in hospital emergency departments. Most of these incidents involve cuts, eye injuries, and bruises. Toys have also caused death among children, including airway blockage from small toys, drowning, and motor vehicle-related injuries during play.
The holiday season is a good time to take stock of the toys your children have. You should also consider the following guidelines suggested by Prevent Blindness America before purchasing new toys:
In addition, specific toys are frequently associated with toy-related injuries:
After children have opened new toys, immediately remove the plastic packaging to prevent suffocation. Cords and strings should also be kept 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 the toy is to be used.
Supervise children when they play. Even a quiet activity such as a craft that involves scissors, glue, and markers has the potential for injury. When children are done playing, make sure everything is picked up and put away 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, particularly if they are manufactured 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 the http://www.recalls.gov/ website to find out about recalls of toys with lead.
By taking these precautions and being aware of risks, toys will remain a fun part of the holiday season. Additional toy and other safety tips are available on the website of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital (http://www.injurycenter.org/).
Last Reviewed: Nov 25, 2008
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