Holiday toys can be health risk for kids

Toy-related emergency room visits rise around holiday season

With almost two weeks to go until Christmas, holiday shopping is well under way.

But according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the gifts you buy might affect your kids' health.

That report reveals that emergency rooms in the United States treated more than 254,000 toy-related injuries in 2015 -- the most recent year with data available. 

Medical Center Peach County Navicent Health emergency room nurse manager Rebecca Hildebrandt says those visits spike around this time of year.

"Typically, during the summer and the holiday season because they're getting new toys, we see a lot of injuries," said Hildebrandt.

They come in all types.

Emergency room physician Dr. Kenneth Ofoha says one risk is that "toys that are sharp, with sharp edges [can cause] lacerations, abrasions."

Hildebrandt says that small objects can be a choking hazard.

"Things with magnets and batteries are bad. We've seen small children swallow the batteries," said Hildebrandt.

Dr. Ofoha says allergic reactions can sometimes occur as well, occasionally from things like crayons.

Pediatricians at Children's Hospital, Navicent Health have some tips on how to avoid these potential trips to the ER:

  • Look out for toys with small parts that might be choking hazards.
  • Steer clear of gifts with ropes attached.
  • Seek out crayons and markers that are marked "nontoxic."
  • Look for age appropriate labels on packaging to make sure the present will be safe for the kid unwrapping it.
  • Search for safety inspection labels.
  • Purchase protective gear like helmets and pads to go with gifts like bicycles, skateboards, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

But emergency room physician Dr. Kenneth Ofoha says no matter what you buy, there will always be some risk.

So he says the best safeguard is watching out for your kids.

"I think the bottom line is regardless of what we buy for our children or grandkids we have to supervise them. Period," said Ofoha.

Nothing will ever be 100 percent safe, but hospital personnel say these steps can go a long way to making sure you spend your holiday by the fireplace at home and not in the emergency room.

© 2018 WMAZ-TV


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