Every year thousands of children visit emergency rooms because of a toy-related accident.
While the vast majority of these cases do not require hospital stays, some children have died because of a toy-related injury. In 2017, some 37 children died because of toy-related accidents, according to the non-profit organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH.
Dangers can lurk in a toy’s small pieces that can be swallowed resulting in asphyxiation, or other parts such as a long cord that can cause strangulation. When buying a toy for a child, whether during the holidays or other times, it’s important to take time to examine the product, read the warning label and suggested age range to ensure its safety.
WATCH releases an annual list of 10 toys that could be potentially harmful.
“The common theme is several of the toys can cause injuries to eyes,” said Dr. Peter Short, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Beverly Hospital and a pediatrician.
The Nerf Ultra One and Pogo Trick Board are two of the 10 toys listed. The Nerf gun can shoot up to 120 feet and does not advertise eye protection should be worn by children. The POGO Trick Board’s warning label says a helmet and arm/leg protection should be used but their picture shows children using the POGO Trick Board without the recommended protection.
“If there’s any possibility of injury to eyes, the parents should consider buying a different toy or require that their child wear goggles even though some products don’t require it,” Dr. Short said.
Be sure to read a product’s warnings.
“If parents are not going to be able to supervise the child with certain products at all times, they shouldn’t have them at home,” Dr. Short said.
For children 18 months and younger, Dr. Short recommends ensuring a toy’s pegs or parts are not small enough to be swallowed and block the airway. It’s also important that toys for young children do not have a cord longer than 12 inches, which could potentially cause strangulation.
For all children, parents should not buy toys that look too real, especially any toy guns. There have been accidental shootings because a child was holding a toy gun that looked real.
On this note, some toys such as slime look realistic enough to fool kids. “If they look good enough to eat, just don’t get them,” Dr. Short said.
For more information on which toys to get this holiday season, speak with your child’s pediatrician.