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2011-12-11

Safe Holiday Toy Shopping Tips

This is a timely safety article from HSW:

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The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants parents and consumers to know that while recalls and deaths have declined, toy-related deaths and injuries are still a major concern.

U.S. toy-related deaths to children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009. Nearly half of these toy-related fatalities were attributed to choking on balloons, small balls, and rubber balls.

A new report  released by CPSC notes that about 181,500 children younger than 15 years of age were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments due to toy-related injuries in 2010. Non motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries. Frequently these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the child's face and head. Importantly many of the incidents were associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy.

Here are some safety steps that consumers can take while shopping this holiday season:
(1) WHICH TOY FOR WHICH CHILD - Always choose age appropriate toys.
(2) GEAR UP FOR SAFETY - Include safety gear whenever shopping for sports-related gifts or ride-on toys, including bicycles, skates, and scooters.
(3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Be aware of your child’s surroundings during play. Young children should avoid playing with ride-on toys near automobile traffic, pools or ponds. They also should avoid playing in indoor areas associated with hazards such as kitchens and bathrooms and in rooms with corded window blinds.




 Scooters and other Riding Toys
 
Riding toys, skateboards, and in-line skates go fast,
 and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear
 should be worn properly at all times and be sized to fit.






Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts 
 For children younger than age three,
avoid toys with small parts,
which can cause choking.



 Balloons

 Children can choke or suffocate on deflated
 or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons
 away from children younger than eight years old.
 Discard broken balloons at once.






Magnets 
For children under age six, avoid building or play 
sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with
magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or 
death can occur. 



Once the gifts are open:
•Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous play things.

•Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.

•Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

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