December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. The observance was started by Prevent Blindness America. Approximately 217,000 children are treated in emergency rooms annually for toy-related injuries. The injuries can happen because of a fault in the toy itself or due to mishandling of the toy. While the vast majority of injured parties were eventually released by the emergency room or hospital, toy-related injuries are among the most preventable. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CSPC) has reported 17 fatalities in 2018 that involved toys, although the commission has yet to collect the total data for that year. Most injuries involve children under the age of 15. Most fatalities were caused by automobiles and included non-motorized scooters. Other deaths were caused by airway obstruction from toys such as rubber balls, balloons, toy darts, toy food, and stuffed dolls. Finishing the list were drownings and electrocutions.

Types of Toy Related Injuries

It only takes a second for a child to become injured from a toy if they aren’t being adequately supervised. During this holiday season, it is critical to understand the types of injuries that can be sustained from toys, and how to keep children out of harm’s way when they receive their gifts.
  • Choking. Choking is one of the most common injuries pertaining to toys. A child’s trachea is no wider than a straw. Even the tiniest of pieces from a toy can block a child’s airways and cause suffocation. Many parts of countless toys can break off and lead to choking. Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional deaths in children under 5 years old. Toy manufacturers are required to put warnings on labels for choking hazards. Always inspect a toy before allowing a child to play with it, read all labels thoroughly, and make sure that the toy is age-appropriate.
  • Falls. Most riding-toy injuries are from falls. Children fall off their bikes, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades very often, especially if they are inexperienced. Falls can result in cuts, scrapes, bruises, bone fractures, and severe head injuries. Children are also at risk of falling from treehouses and swing sets and other playground equipment. These injuries are potentially fatal or permanent. The best way to prevent an injury from a fall is proper padding. Kneepads, elbow pads, and helmets save lives and reduce the risk of a severe injury.
  • Eye injuries. Prevent Blindness America estimates that an average of 11,000 toy-related eye injuries in children each year. The injuries range in severity from mild corneal abrasions to severe retinal detachment and blindness. Toys such as BB guns or other weapon-related toys are one of the biggest causes of eye injuries. Sports equipment is also a big one. Other toys that cause eye injury are those that contain rubber bands. Bungee cords, used for purposes such as securing items to bikes, are one of the biggest causes of eye injuries. Always make sure that children wear proper protective eyewear when engaging in sports. Make sure that toys are age-appropriate as well.
  • Drowning. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water, and water safety is paramount when it comes to toys. One particular toy that has become popular lately is the mermaid tail. They are artificial tails that little girls wear in the water and swim like mermaids, but they limit leg movement and may make swimming more difficult. The toys have made a direct impact on the increase in toy-related drownings in the United States. Almost 900 children die each year from drowning, and it is the number two cause of death in children. Always make sure that children swim only under adult supervision.
  • Motor accidents. Certain toys, such as balls, scooters, and bicycles, aren’t always directly responsible for a child's injury. However, they can contribute to a motor injury. Kids don’t necessarily have the cognizance to know not to run out into the street when chasing a ball, or not to ride their bikes in the street. Motorists aren’t always focusing on the road, and this can lead to a potentially fatal situation. Make sure to properly educate a child about the dangers of not paying attention when playing near streets and especially school zones. Ideally, adult supervision is the best way to keep them from getting hit by a motor vehicle.

Supervise Children and Avoid Toy-Related Injuries

Children require constant supervision because their minds are still developing. They are often unfamiliar with new toys, and injuries are all too common. By knowing the safety hazards involved and how to prevent injury, kids this year will be better off with their new toys.

The Emergency Center is here for you if your child needs emergency care. We offer Emergency services for children! Never second guess whether or not an injury is severe enough to require emergency attention. The Emergency Center provides up to 23 hours of Observation and offers 24/7 care with NO WAITING. Visit one of The Emergency Center’s convenient 24-hour locations in Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.