Safe Toys: The Facts May Surprise You

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Trolling across the Internet or listening to TV news, it’s easy to hear horrific accounts of toy-related injuries and product recalls. While these accounts are true, they’re not commonplace. Here’s what you need to know about toy-related injuries to keep your family safe and sound for the holidays—and all year long

Know Who Is Really at Risk

While we all want to keep our little tikes safe, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that in fact, it’s not toddlers or pre-schoolers who recorded the most toy-related injures but children 6–12 years old.

Beware of Boys and Their Toys

Of the 147,500 toy-related injuries reported to CPSC in 2014, 59 percent were boys. Of the 11 toy-related deaths reported in 2014, 10 were boys.

Hell on Wheels

When we think of toy-related injuries, most of us envision small children choking on little plastic parts. However, the most dangerous toys are, in fact, non-motorized riding toys—scooters, wagons, tricycles, etc. This is not because of malfunction of the toys themselves, but because of lack of adult supervision and/or contact with automobiles. Of the riding toys reported in accidents, CPSC found that non-motorized scooters resulted in the highest rate of injury.

Know the Numbers—And Their Context

In 2014, an estimated 251,800 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. However, of those 96 percent were treated for cuts and bruises and released. Children do die from toy-related injuries, but in very small numbers—only 11 in 2014.

Toy Safety Tips for Christmas Morning

  • Make sure the toy is age-appropriate as specified on the packaging. When used correctly, safety standards generally work.
  • Limit small children’s access to objects that look like toys but aren’t and hence, don’t meet safety standards—holiday ornaments, specialty candy packaging, gag-gifts for adults, etc.
  • Remember that the highest risk age group for toy-related injuries isn’t toddlers or preschoolers, but kids aged 6–12.
  • Boys are more likely to be injured by toys than girls.
  • Make sure junior isn’t playing with a new riding toy on the street or sidewalk—especially near driveways. If parents are pre-occupied with holiday responsibilities, designate a grandparent or other adult to supervise.
  • Think twice about putting one of those zippy, silver scooters under the tree. Children often look down at their feet while operating them, and they’re difficult for cars to see, making scooters the most accident-prone of all riding toys.

Source: “Toys-Related Deaths and Injuries, Calendar Year 2014,” Consumer Product Safety Commission, United States of Americ