Children's Hospital Media and Press Relations
Department of Pediatrics Newsletter Archive
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Offers Toy Safety Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season
November 20, 2014
Media Contact:
Ashley Culver
(615) 322-4747

As parents and others prepare for Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, a safety expert at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt offers tips to avoid this year's most dangerous toys. 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 120,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year.

Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program manager at Children’s Hospital, suggests keeping the child’s age in mind while shopping for toys this holiday season.

“All toy should have an age recommendation on the packaging, and it’s important to read labels carefully, especially for children under age 3,” Unni said.

And Unni urges gift buyers to remember to purchase helmets and other appropriate safety gear for toys such as scooters, bikes, skateboards and inline skates.  

Safety precautions parents can take to avoid toy-related injuries:

• Look for quality construction.

• Make sure children follow safety guidelines when playing with new toys.

• Check toys regularly for broken parts, chipped paint or sharp edges.

• Make sure all crayons, markers or other art supplies are labeled non-toxic.

• Ride-on toys often result in the highest number of toy related injuries. Make sure your child has the proper protective equipment and  always wears a helmet.

According to Unni, choking is one of the main causes of toy-related injuries and deaths. Make sure to keep toys with small parts away from young children.

Choking hazard precautions:

• Avoid marbles and balls with a diameter of less than 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters).

• Avoid toys with cords or strings longer than 7 inches.

• Purchase Mylar balloons instead of latex, and never allow children to inflate or deflate balloons.

Below is a list of other items to avoid this shopping season:

• Button Batteries — Found in remote controls, watches, key chains and musical greeting cards, these small, coin-sized batteries can become lodged in a child’s esophagus and can cause significant problems within just a few hours after they are swallowed.

• Magnets — Avoid building sets with small magnets for children under 6. If swallowed, serious injuries or death could occur.

• Projectile Toys — Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and slingshots aren’t recommended for any age, but if they are purchased, they should be for older children.

• Chargers and Adapters — Charging batteries should always be supervised by adults. Battery chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

• BB guns — BB guns should not be considered toys. Children require proper training and supervision while using a BB gun.

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