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Health Department Notes

‘Tis the season for toy safety

It’s that time of the year again. With so many new toys on the market, it’s easy for parents to forget toy safety in the rush to finish holiday shopping. The good news is that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have already prevented many unsafe toys from hitting the shelves and toy recalls have dramatically declined overall. Unfortunately, many toys can still be dangerous when used improperly or by younger children.

A new report released today by CPSC, estimates there were 174,100 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries and seven deaths in 2016 to children younger than 15.

Riding toys, specifically non-motorized scooters, were the toy category associated with the most injuries and nearly half of toy-related deaths. All of the riding toy deaths were due to motor vehicle involvement. Most of the injuries involved cuts and bruises to the head and face.

Safety tips for holiday gift buying:

Check the label - choose age appropriate toys by reading the age label on the toy. Children younger than three should not have access to toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also avoid marbles and small balls for children under three.

Get safety gear - with scooters and other riding toys, supervision is key along with proper safety gear that includes helmets. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding a scooter on a street or roadway with other motor vehicles. Hoverboards - although not considered a toy, hoverboards should be compliant with UL 2272 safety standard.

Be careful with magnets - high powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children under 14. Building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.

You can also subscribe to the CPSC Product Recall list (https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Subscribe) to keep track of toys that have been pulled from the market because of safety issues.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

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