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Your Healthy Family: Avoiding holiday toy hazards

Posted at 7:27 AM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 07:27:55-05

As your kids open their holiday gifts, doctors are warning about unsafe toys. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said toy-related injuries sent nearly 200,000 kids to the Emergency Room last year.

Many of the toy-related injuries and deaths reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission were from choking on small toys or gifts. Cleveland Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Adam Keating said it’s critical to give age-appropriate gifts, especially for kids under three.

"We know kids under 3 have a propensity for putting things in their mouths. That’s how they developmentally explore the world. And anything that’s basically smaller than what you can fit through a toilet paper tube roll is a choking hazard," Dr. Keating said.

He also said to pay attention to the age guidelines listed on toy’s packaging. If you’re buying a toy for an older child, he said it’s important to be aware of any younger kids in the home who may also have access to the gift. Small balls and toys with small parts, like building sets, are common choking hazards and should be kept away from kids younger than three.

Anything powered by a button battery should also be avoided for young kids. If swallowed, these round, flat batteries have the potential to burn a hole in a child’s stomach or intestines, which can be a life-threatening medical emergency.

If a bike, scooter or hoverboard is on your child’s wish list, make sure you also give a helmet.

"I don’t ask kids to wear a bike suit of armor. I ask them to wear a bike helmet because the other parts of your body largely are going to heal, even if you injure them. Sometimes if you injure your brain, it doesn’t get better,” he said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said to also check online to make sure a toy hasn’t been banned or recalled before buying it.