MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Toy shopping for kids often means buying what’s on their wish lists. However, experts say safety is what parents should want.
Susan Helms is the Director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Tennessee at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
“Safety is important any time of the year and especially because a lot of things are going to be purchased,” said Helms.
New research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows in 2015, there were more than 185,000 toy related, emergency department treated injuries and 11 deaths nationwide.
Helms says there are easy ways to prevent those ER visits, and it starts with buying toys that are age appropriate.
She explained, “The U.S. market is really good about marketing the toys as such, because like for little children, you don’t want small parts, they could choke on that.”
It may sound simple, but Helms says the next important step is adult supervision.
“Kids are not really going to follow the rules of the game, they’re going to make up their own so that’s why an adult needs to be there supervising what they do.”
The CPSC research shows riding toys, like non-motorized scooters, accounted for the bulk of the injuries and almost half the fatalities.
So, Helms says parents should be mindful of where they allow children to ride bikes and scooters, and always have them wear a helmet.
“The injuries that we see that are the most severe are head injuries, and they can be often prevented if you’re wearing a bicycle helmet and it’s not very expensive,” added Helms.
Other tips for toy safety
- Keep children away from button batteries, magnets-Ingestion can be dangerous, even deadly
- For children under 3, avoid toys with small parts–The small parts can pose a choking hazard
- The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend buying trampolines for the home
- Watch out for recalled products if buying second hand-Use sites like the CPSC’s recall page or Safer Products to search for recalled toys and reports about unsafe products.