Toy Safety 2023: Latest on Hazards, Tips for Parents
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Despite the year-round toy safety campaign against unsafe toys by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and private organizations, products are still sold that can be hazardous to kids.
A new report released last month by the CPSC found that in 2022 there were more than 145,500 toy-related injuries treated at emergency departments to children younger than 12 years of age, including 11 deaths. “The majority of the 11 deaths reported were attributed to choking or asphyxiation associated with small parts, balls, or balloons,” the CPSC states.
Non-motorized scooters accounted for the largest share of injuries requiring visits to EDs across all age groups – 35,400 -- or one in every five toy-related injuries to children aged 14 and younger.
“We see items on a shelf and we assume that if it’s in a store, it must be safe. But that’s not always the case,” said Joseph Scott, M.D., emergency medicine physician at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “Be vigilant and don’t assume a toy is safe. Try to anticipate what could go wrong. We don’t want to assume the worst all the time, and we want our children to have fun, but you have to realize there is always a risk.”
CPSC urges families to stay safe this holiday season by following these tips:
- Follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging and choose toys that match each child's interests and abilities.
- Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys–and make sure that children use them every time.
- Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3, and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
- Once the gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous playthings.
Many parents don’t realize that the CPSC does not test all toys, and that not all products online or in stores meet safety standards. Unfortunately, safety issues with toys often only become known after a child is hurt.
“Consumers expect the products they purchase online to be as safe as those they buy in brick-and-mortar stores,” said CBSC Chair Hoehn-Saric, in a statement. “While this is true when buying online directly from a manufacturer, purchasing from an online marketplace that services other sellers raises additional risks. Consumers need to educate themselves not only about what they buy, but where and from whom. It’s important not to sacrifice safety.”
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