Study: Toy-related injury is rising in American children treated at U.S. emergency departments
Foot-powered scooters account for most of the increase in the injury rates from 1990 to 2011
At Recalls.gov, adults can check whether a toy is recalled or defective
With the holiday toy shopping season here in full swing you may want to think twice about a couple of the items that may be on your child’s list. That’s because toy-related injuries are on the rise according to a new report.
A study published in the latest edition of Clinical Pediatrics shows the injury rate has increased almost 40% in the United States. That’s looking at statistics from emergency departments collected between 1990 to 2011.
Over 3 million children were treated in emergency departments for a toy-related injury. In 2011 alone, that translates to a child getting hurt every 3 minutes. A little over half of the injured is a young child under the age of six.
Researchers found the number one toy causing the problems for kids are ride-on toys like foot-powered scooters.
“We know that’s an underestimate,” said Dr. Gary Smith. He’s the lead researcher on the study and the Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We know that those numbers are increasing. So it’s a call to action. We really do have a lot more work to do to provide safe toys for children”
When asked about the study’s limitations, Smith says it “only look(s) at children treated at American hospital emergency departments.” Missing are the numbers from urgent care centers and doctors offices, or those that don’t seek any medical care at all.
Toy-related deaths were also left out of the study database. Most injuries are not that severe according to the latest numbers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Smith emphasizes that depending of the age of the child, there are different types of injuries for different. “For younger children, kids under 5, they spend most of their time in the home, and so it’s toys found indoors, in the home, that are the major source of injury.” For children under 3, it’s choking hazards. Toys with small parts are always a causes for concern for the little ones. And recalled toys can be a problem. Smith suggests you check Recalls.gov to make sure the toy you are picking out is not defective.
As for older adolescents, foot-powered scooters or “kick” scooters are a major source of injury. With the introduction of the Razor scooter in 1999, these light-weight, foldable two-or-three-wheeled toys quickly became popular and they also quickly became a bulk of the increase in toy-related injuries according to researchers.
If you do chose to buy your child a scooter this holiday season, Smith suggests parents buy a helmet as well. He also tells parents to talk to the child about playing in an area that is far away from car traffic. And if the child is under 8, make sure there’s an adult to watch over them when they play. These are the same guidelines the Razor scooter company suggests on its own website. The company also suggests riders use elbow and kneepads.