With the holiday season set to be in full swing, it’s highly likely that you’ve already started thinking of new toys and gadgets to get the children in your life. As you set out to the malls or browse online, keep in mind some toys can have hidden dangers, exposing children to dangerous chemicals or injury-causing hazards.
At this year’s annual toy safety news conference hosted by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, experts urged families to pay close attention to information available online to guide them in choosing safe toys this holiday season.
“Each year more than 250,000 children are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries,” says Jennifer Arnold, M.D., M.Sc., FAAP, medical director of simulation at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “That could be a poisoning or it could be a chemical burn such as from a battery being ingested. One of the things we especially worry about is magnets, not only for the choking hazard but because swallowing more than one has the potential to damage the intestines.”
“Labeling requirements and structurally safer toys help prevent some of these injuries,” adds Petra Vybiralova, Safe Kids coordinator at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “However each year we still find toys that might be too noisy, mislabeled, or choking hazards.”
Every year the Florida Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund releases “Trouble in Toyland,” an annual report on toy safety. The survey has resulted in more than 150 recalls and regulatory actions during its more than 30 years.