The new “Trouble in Toyland” report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group lists toys that are potentially toxic, choking hazards or exceed safe noise levels for children. Sarah
Haverstick, Safe Children program manager at Children’s Hospital, says choking is one of the main causes of toy-related injuries and deaths at the hospital.
“Young children explore with their hands, mouth and eyes, which is what makes choosing age-appropriate toys so important,” said Haverstick. “It’s important to keep toys with small parts away from young children under 3, and provide constant supervision while children are playing.”
She says parents can test the toys with the cardboard tube from a toilet paper roll, which is the same diameter as a child’s windpipe. If an object fits inside the tube, then it’s too small for a young child.
Additional choking hazard precautions:
• Avoid marbles and balls with a diameter of less than 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters).
• Avoid toys with cords or strings longer than 7 inches.
• Purchase Mylar balloons instead of latex, and never allow children to inflate or deflate balloons.
Below is a list of other items to avoid this shopping season:
• Button Batteries – Found in remote controls, watches, key chains and musical greeting cards, these small, coin-sized batteries can become lodged in a child’s esophagus and can cause significant problems within just a few hours after they are swallowed.
• Magnets – For children under age 6, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries or death could occur.
• Projectile Toys – Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and slingshots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
• Chargers and Adapters – Charging batteries should always be supervised by adults. Battery chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
• BB guns – BB guns should not be considered toys. Children require proper safety training for BB gun use.
Media Relations Manager
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt