Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and parents everywhere are tweaking their shopping plans for the children on their not-naughty-but-nice lists. But parents should know that the number of toy-related injuries has been rising over the past 20 years. In fact, a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics shows that the national injury rate from toys alone increased 40% from 1990-2011. During that time, 3.2 million children — or about 149,000 per year — were treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. Children two years old and younger appeared to be at highest risk of suffering injuries from toys, boys had a higher incidence of injuries, and more than 80% of injuries occurred at home. Bill Briggs and Erica Edwards reveal which toys caused the most injuries:
The researchers underscored new concerns about ride-on toys — scooters, wagons, tricycles and powered play cars. Those wheeled playthings accounted for about 35 percent of the recorded injuries and 42 percent of the hospital admissions during the years examined.
“I tell parents that if you have three things that you could do to prevent an injury to a child on a scooter, or other ride-on toy, those three things would be: wear a helmet, wear a helmet, wear a helmet,” said Dr. Gary Smith, lead author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The most common injuries reported from toys were lacerations (24%), contusions and abrasions (19%), strains and sprains (12%), and fractures (12%); “other” injuries accounted for 33%. Kim Painter says choosing age-appropriate toys is a first step in injury prevention:
Parents buying holiday toys can do their part by sticking to age-appropriate choices and buying a helmet when they buy a bike or scooter, says Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, an advocacy group.
“We want to see kids be adventuresome. We want to see kids play. But you need to think about the consequences if a toy is not appropriate for them,” she says.