What to Look For (and Avoid)

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Vacation gift-giving could be magical, particularly while you’re giving a beloved youngster that excellent current. But it surely can be hazardous. 

In 2021, emergency rooms within the U.S. handled greater than 152,000 youngsters youthful than 15 for toy-related accidents, based on the Shopper Product Security Fee (CPSC). To assist defend the kids in your life, concentrate on these frequent toy-related hazards and methods to decide on protected toys.

Be Conscious of Button Batteries 

Button batteries are flat, spherical batteries concerning the measurement of a dime that energy all types of electronics discovered within the residence, together with many toys. 

It’s a rising threat. Each 75 minutes within the U.S., a toddler below 18 visits an ER for a battery-related harm, based on a brand new examine of information from 2010 to 2019 revealed by Secure Youngsters and Nationwide Kids’s Hospital. That’s greater than twice the frequency reported in a earlier examine primarily based on information from 1990 to 2009. Most of those accidents — 85% — concerned button batteries. And most occurred in youngsters 5 years previous and youthful, the age vary at which children are prone to put the whole lot of their mouths.

“These batteries are small, flat, shiny, clean, straightforward to ingest, and so they actually burn by the tissue within the throat and abdomen. They are often lethal,” says Amy Watkins, MPH, the director of Secure Youngsters Connecticut, a program of Connecticut Kids’s Damage Prevention Middle. “When you’re shopping for a battery-powered toy, be sure the compartment is safe and might solely be opened utilizing a instrument like a screwdriver.”

Watch Out for Wheels

Scooters that are not motorized account for the most important share of toy-related accidents, based on the CPSC. 

“These scooters are sometimes given to younger youngsters and so they’re not handled with the identical warning as bikes or skateboards could be, maybe as a result of individuals assume they will’t go that quick, so children aren’t essentially sporting helmets,” says Stacey Pecenka, MPH, supervisor of the pediatric trauma harm prevention program at Vanderbilt College Medical Middle in Tennessee. “Greater than two-thirds of toy-related accidents are from non-motorized scooters.”

Motorized scooters and digital bikes can be dangerous, notably if ridden by children which are too younger. “Though they’re often labeled as being for ages 16 or 18 and up, digital bikes are sometimes being utilized by a lot youthful children,” Pecenka says. The variety of youngsters hospitalized for digital scooter accidents rose from 4.2% in 2011 to 12.9% in 2020, with 27% involving arm fractures and one in ten instances involving head accidents reminiscent of concussions. 

Nearly any wheeled or different using toy that may decide up some velocity could be hazardous, Watkins says. “Everyone thinks they’re not going to fall, however we see so many children within the ER with accidents from falling off bicycles or skateboards or hoverboards. When you’re gifting a toddler a motorcycle, skateboard, scooter, snowboard or skates, you have to be giving them a helmet as effectively. And guarantee that no matter it’s, it’s applicable for the kid’s age.”

Magnet Mayhem

Many toys comprise high-powered magnets, generally known as uncommon earth magnets, which could be extraordinarily hazardous if swallowed. A number of of those manufacturers, together with Zen Magnets and Neoballs, have had their merchandise recalled just lately because of the risks related to ingesting them. 

Tiny magnets are additionally generally present in fidget toys, and youths typically use these magnets to imitate physique piercings by inserting one on both aspect of the tongue, lips or cheeks, the place they are often by accident swallowed.   

The dangers transcend choking. “If swallowed, these magnets can join by the tissue within the intestines and bowel and create blockages,” Watkins says. “These bonds are actually sturdy and infrequently require emergency surgical procedure to take away them.” 

The CPSC discovered these magnet toys so harmful that they ordered all of them recalled from the market in 2012, however a courtroom ruling overturned that call in 2016 and they’re nonetheless on retailer cabinets. Though they’re meant to be used in ages 14 and up, a current examine discovered that the typical age of the kids injured was 7.6, with greater than half needing hospitalization.

Toy Purchaser’s Information 

Comply with these easy ideas for selecting toys, shared by the CPSC and different toy security specialists:

  • Learn the label. What age is the product meant for? Comply with age steerage and different security info on toy packaging and select toys that match every kid’s pursuits and skills. “If a toy says it’s for ages 4 and up, don’t say, ‘My 2-year-old nephew is actually superior and he’ll be enjoying with this very quickly,’” Pecenka says. “Toys are geared for a sure age vary for a cause.”
  • Get security gear, together with helmets, for scooters and different using toys. Kids want to make use of them each time. “And ensure you have the fitting helmet,” Pecenka says. Helmets for bicycle using are completely different than these designed for snowboarding or snowboarding or using an ATV.  Concentrate on the protection gear that ought to be customary with these items.
  • Preserve small balls and toys with small components away from youngsters youthful than age 3. “An excellent rule of thumb is that if one thing would match into the tube of a rest room paper roll, a toddler below 3-5 shouldn’t have it,” Watkins says.
  • Examine the toy with a crucial eye. “Does it have components that may simply break off and {that a} youngster may place of their mouth or may create a pointy level that might poke or minimize a toddler?” Watkins asks. “If it’s an digital toy, is the battery compartment safe?” 
  • Seek for recollects on-line earlier than shopping for a toy, particularly in the event you’re shopping for secondhand. “Simply put the toy identify and the phrase ‘recall’ right into a search engine or use the CPSC’s recall search instrument at cpsc.gov/Recall,” Watkins says. 

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