It’s alarming and unfortunate, but 18 was the number of children killed in toy-related deaths this past year–not from car accidents or home invasions or even illness, but toys. With an estimated 232,900 toy-related injuries treated at hospitals, it’s apparent that there is a problem here.
And with the biggest gift-giving season quickly approaching, I feel the need to sound the alarm. While many of the incidents were not caused by the toys but occurred while the children were playing, the majority of these toy-related deaths were caused by blocked airways, drowning or accidents involving motor vehicles.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, six were killed while riding a tricycle or battery-powered vehicle (three of them drowned after falling into pools while riding.) Two drowned while playing with inflatable toys in water. Seven children choked on rubber balls, uninflated balloons and rubber darts. A six-month-old suffocated when he fell off of a bed onto a stuffed toy. And two children were hit by a cars while riding non-motorized scooters. In most cases, these were deaths that could have been prevented by two things–watchful supervision and toy safety.
All too often, we are content to know that our children are simply playing outside or in another room. But, at least in these cases, if the parents or caregivers had given more watchful oversight during playtime, many of these deaths could have been prevented.
- Do not purchase baby gifts or toys that have small removable parts or pieces that can easily come off during play. They present a choking hazard. If the baby toys are smaller than the baby’s fist, it’s too small.
- Be sure that you are in the room (or within close proximity) with your children during playtime, especially when they are outside and near water.
- Learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR, since most childhood deaths are the result of choking or drowning. It is vital in the case of emergency.
- Keep party favors and small decorations out of reach of children. When decorating for the holidays, be sure to keep the area free of debris, and baby-proof the area when finished.
Whether it’s baby’s first Christmas or you’re celebrating with teenagers, taking these precautions will help make sure that you and your family and a safe and happy holiday.