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Be aware of unsafe toys and the injuries hospitals anticipate this holiday season

CPSC: 198,000 toy-related injuries in 2020, 75% were age 14 and younger
Be aware of unsafe toys and the injuries hospitals are anticipating this holiday season
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 14:11:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Consumer watchdog groups and hospital emergency room staff are urging people to be mindful of safety when buying gifts for children this holiday season. News5 takes a deep dive into the most recent injury numbers and the concerns surrounding how more kids could end up in the hospital again this year.

So far this year the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled more than a dozen toys because of safety concerns including high levels of lead and concerns about children choking on or ingesting small parts from easily broken toys.

"Yeah, we do have some different things that we need to consider when buying for our family," said Colorado Springs mother Fiona Feickert.

Feickert has six kids ranging in age from 7 to 19. Introducing new toys in her home safely has been an ongoing challenge.

"So we've had to consider well is the toy we're buying for the big kids safe to be in the home with the baby," said Feickert.

She says there's been an effort in her home to avoid toys with small parts for years now.

"On our children's wish list I actually specifically for one of the kids until he was in his teens said nothing with small parts. It's going to get scattered. I've got other little kids to worry about," said Feickert.

Emergency room staff at Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs say it's important to worry about those little kids this time of year.

"A lot of the concerns are related to children under five. They have a higher chance of ingesting something or swallowing something," said Amanda Abramczyk-Thill, an injury prevention specialist for Children's Hospital Colorado.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks toy-related injuries each year. In 2020 it estimates there were 198,000 toy-related injuries, 75%-percent of those were children age 14 and under and almost half of the injuries were to the head and face areas

"A lot of times toys are causing injuries to the face so that can be cuts or bruises. Maybe a projectile that hits somebody's eye," said Abramczyk-Thill.

But again this year, children swallowing small "button batteries" remains the biggest concern because the battery can cause catastrophic damage to children internally in a short amount of time. It could even be fatal.

"We have a friend of one of my kids who swallowed a button battery, preschool or kindergarten age and he lives, but almost didn't. It's pretty serious," said Feickert.

These batteries are found in many items you might not think about.

"They can be in remotes, they can be in hearing aids, in your little greeting card that lights up and makes noise, they can also be in little lights or other decor and granted you might not even see them or know they are there," said Feickert.

The good news is the number of estimated toy-related injuries continues to fall year after year going back to 2017, but with supply chain issues many people may be tempted to buy online on social media marketplaces and could end up with counterfeit toys that have unregulated dangers.

"You do have to be a conscientious consumer. You can't just assume if it's being sold it's safe," said Feickert.

Emergency room doctors say perhaps the best gift you can give a kid this year isn't a toy at all, it's a helmet. They tell me many of the head injuries they see would've been prevented if the person injured was wearing a helmet.

Here are some links and resources to help you do your own research on toys you're unsure about before you make that purchase:

U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission:
https://www.cpsc.gov/

U.S. Public Interest Research Group:
https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/Trouble-In-Toyland