CLEVELAND- December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 toy-related injuries were treated in Emergency Departments in 2021.
Roopa Thakur, MD, a Cleveland Clinic Children’s pediatrician, said it’s vital to consider toy safety when picking the perfect present.
“If you’re thinking about toys that might shoot objects into the air, just being very aware that they can cause bodily injury. They can cause eye injury, especially,” she said. “So, if you have kids that are running around and shooting things at each other, make sure that there is good supervision.”
Dr. Thakur said small toys and pieces could quickly become choking hazards if young children put them in their mouths.
Parents should also be wary of toys with button batteries or high-powered magnets, as these can damage tissues and intestines if swallowed -- which is considered a surgical emergency.
While most toy-related mishaps result in minor cuts and scrapes, non-motorized scooters account for the highest number of injuries. When purchasing these or other riding toys like bikes, rollerblades, and tricycles, it is recommended to pair them with safety gear.
“Consider giving a helmet,” said Dr. Thakur. “If you are gifting a hover scooter or something similar, knee and elbow pads would be great to gift, as well, to prevent injury in the case of a fall.”
To help determine the right age for a toy, look for the manufacturer’s guidelines on the packaging.
It’s also good to check if the item has been recalled or banned.
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