EVMS and Prevent Child Injury offer top five tips for holiday toy safety

Story Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:48:00 EST

New research shows that every three minutes, a child in the U.S. is treated in an emergency department for a toy-related injury. To help parents understand what dangers to look for when selecting toys, EVMS, a member of Prevent Child Injury, is raising awareness about toy safety this holiday season.

The types of injury risks vary depending on the child’s age. For children younger than 3, the biggest risk is choking on small toys or small toy parts. For children ages 5-14, ride-on toys, especially foot-powered scooters, lead to the greatest number of injuries.

“What is safe for your oldest is not always safe for your youngest,” says Kelli England Will, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at EVMS and member of the Prevent Child Injury Advisory Committee. “It’s important to give your children only age-appropriate toys. If a toy has parts that fit inside a toilet paper tube, has batteries that are not secure or has magnets, it is not safe for young children.”

To prevent toy-related injuries, Dr. Will recommends that parents, guardians and anyone buying gifts for children follow these guidelines.

•      Read the label. Manufacturers set age recommendations based on both the stage of development needed for the toy and the safety of the toy. Toys for older children often have small parts that are a choking hazard for younger children.

•      Buy a helmet. If you’re giving a child a ride-on toy, like a bicycle, scooter or skateboard, make a properly-fitted helmet part of the gift.

•      Make sure batteries are secure. Coin-sized button batteries can cause serious injuries when swallowed and even lead to death, all within as little as two hours. Look for toys with battery compartments that need a screwdriver to open or have a child-resistant locking mechanism.

•      Avoid toys with high-powered magnets. If a child swallows more than one magnet, they can come together inside the body, causing severe damage to internal organs.

•      Check for recalls. Hundreds of toys have been recalled in recent years. Visit www.recalls.gov to see if you have any of these toys.

More prevention tips are available at www.preventchildinjury.org.

Prevent Child Injury is a national group of organizations and individuals, including researchers, health professionals, educators, and child advocates, working together to prevent injuries to children and adolescents in the U.S. In collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevent Child Injury promotes coordinated communication to the public about prevention of child injury, which is the leading cause of death of our nation’s youth. To become a member of Prevent Child Injury or for more information and resources on this and other injury topics, please visit www.preventchildinjury.org

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