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Practice toy safety

Each year, more than 121,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign.

Monday, December 11, 2000

Each year, more than 121,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign.

These injuries range from choking on small toys or toy parts, to being cut on sharp edges and projectiles, burned on electrical toys to suffering hearing loss on loud toys.

"The problem is that parents just don’t realize that they need to buy toys that are appropriate to their child’s age," said Mike Boster, deputy director of the Emergency Management Agency in Ironton. The Emergency Management Agency is a member of the River City Safe Kids Coalition.

"Parents should read the packaging and examine the toy to tell if the toy is safe based on what the package says and what they can tell by their own senses," Boster said. "Obviously a parent wouldn’t want to give a child a toy that feels like it has sharp edges."

Boster said that a parent also needs to consider all the children in the home when buying for just one child.

"If you are buying a toy for an older child, and there are younger children in the home that have access to it, it’s still a danger." Boster said.

Pam Bradshaw, a nursing supervisor with the River Valley Health system said that in the summer many of the toy-related injuries that the hospital sees are from kids who fall off bikes, skateboards, in line skates and roller skates. These are all popular items during Christmas.

"This year, scooters are a hot item for Christmas," Bradshaw said. "Parents should purchase bike helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and shoulder pads to go with those scooters, bikes and skates that they get their kids for Christmas."

The National Safe Kids Campaign suggests that you avoid the following when selecting a toy for a child.

– Toys with small removable parts. The parts can pose a choking hazard to children under the age of three. Use a small parts tester (which can be purchased at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy part.

– Toys with sharp points or edges. Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.

– Toys that produce loud noises. Toy guns and high-volume portable cassette recorders can permanently impair a child’s hearing.

– Propelled toy darts and other projectiles. Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.