Toy Related Injuries in Children

Last weekend we brought Samantha to a toy shop, and she was so fascinated by a fish wind-up toy that we ended up buying it for her. The toy was clearly not suitable for her – it has small parts that potentially could break off, and the box that the toy came in clearly stated that the toy was not for children below the age of three.

Have you ever bought a toy that is not suitable for your child?

fish toy
This mechanical fish toy has small parts that can drop off and become a choking hazard

In a recent study by KK Hospital published in November 2013, the authors surveyed 93 parents regarding their knowledge on toy safety.

The results were quite amazing – 92.5% of respondents admitted to having previously purchased an age-inappropriate toy for the child, and 87.1% had experienced toy-related child injuries. These accidents were caused by pieces of the toy breaking off (80.4%) and/or the child placing a toy part into their ear, nose or throat (51.1%). 37% of respondents also reported that there had been at least one incident in which  their children had been physically injured while playing with a toy.

Why? The top reasons cited for these accidents were wrong use of toys by the child (44.1%) and a lack of supervision by caregivers (37.6%). Interestingly, the survey found out that parents were generally ok with choosing toys for children under the age of 1 and over the age of 3, but fared poorly in selecting toys for children between the age of 1-3.

Here are some tips for better safety-

What to look out for before buying toys:

  • Make sure toys are suitable for the child’s age group
  • Look for warnings or other safety messages on toy packaging
  • Make sure small parts of toys cannot break off, including the eyes and noes on stuffed toys
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges
  • Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air

duck toy
Some soft toy animals have beads for eyes – these may also become a choking hazard if detached

What to look out for after buying toys:
  • Read all instructions included with the toy
  • Throw away all toy packaging such as plastic, cellophane and styrofoam
  • Check toys regularly for broken parts and other hazards
  • Sand the edges of wooden toys that have become sharp or splintered
  • Throw away toys that cannot be fixed
That night, while Samantha slept, the wind-up fish toy was transferred to a secret storage unit..

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