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Toy Safety

  • Each year since 2000, an average of 20 children ages 14 and under have died from a
  • toy-related incident.      
  • In 2009, there were 12 reported toy-related deaths among children ages 14 and under in the U.S.
  • Since 2000, it is estimated that an average of 168,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency departments for toy-related injuries each year.
  • In 2009, an estimated 185,900 children ages 14 and under were treated in an emergency department for a toy-related injury.
  • In 2009, 45 percent of toy-related injuries were to the head or face.
  • In the U.S., an estimated 3 billion toys and games are sold annually.           


How

  • Many toy-related deaths are caused by choking, drowning, a motor vehicle incident or strangulation.     
  • Small play balls and balloons account for many choking deaths among children.         
  • Riding toys including nonmotorized scooters and tricycles are associated with more injuries than any other toy group. In 2009, more than 49,500 injuries to children were treated in emergency departments due to injuries associated with nonmotorized scooters.


Who

  • Approximately 50 percent of toy-related injuries resulting in emergency department visits occurred to children under 5 years of age.
  • Choking is a leading cause of injury among children ages 3 and under with coins and toys accounting for the most nonfood-related choking incidents.
  • In 2009, males accounted for 58 percent of all toy-related injuries.
  • Among children’s products, latex balloons are the number one cause of choking deaths. A majority of these deaths are among children ages 5 and under. 


Cost

In 2001, the cost of toy-related injuries among children under 5 years of age treated in U.S. emergency departments was approximately $385 million.


Prevention Strategies

  • Check the web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for updated information and pictures of recalled toys that may be harmful to children (www.cpsc.gov).
  • Buy age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels.
  • Check regularly for damage to toys, breakage or potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately or discard damaged toys out of children’s reach.
  • Toys with strings, straps, cords, ribbons and loops can be a strangulation hazard to a child. These toys should never be hung in cribs or playpens where children can potentially become entangled.
  • Electrical toys are a potential burn or shock hazard. Children under 8 years of age should not use toys with a heating element.        
  • Choose mylar balloons which are a safer alternative to latex balloons.


Laws and Regulations

  • • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required the CPSC to issue a rule outlining labeling requirements for toy and game advertising in catalogues and other printed materials. The rule applies to catalogues and other printed materials that provide a direct means of purchase or order for toys and games intended for children ages 3 to 6. Under the new rule, any toy or game that currently requires a choking warning for small parts, balloons, small balls or marbles on the product packaging must be advertised with the same warning in any catalogue or other printed item.        
  • The Consumer Safety Specifications for Toy Safety requires that toys be tested to ensure their compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and other CPSC standards.
  • The Child Safety Protection Act requires choking hazard warning labels on packaging for small balls, balloons, marbles and certain toys and games containing small parts. The Act also bans any toy intended for use by children under 3 years of age that may pose a choking, aspiration or ingestion hazard.
  • The Federal Hazardous Substances Act bans any toy or children’s article that contains any hazardous substance, including hazardous levels of lead, or that presents an electrical, mechanical or thermal hazard.
  • The Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act, signed in 1988, requires review of all art materials to determine their potential for causing a chronic hazard and if found to be hazardous, appropriate warning labels must be placed on the materials.
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