The right gift

Two-year-old child Konin Arrington swallows 16 small magnetic desk toys.
Photo Courtesy: CNN Reporter Lauren M. Johnson & Hannah Arrington

As the holidays approach, this is the time of year when consumers are more than likely to purchase children’s toys. These toys can cause serious injuries or even death. It is essential to consider the potential harm of some of these items.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2020, an estimated 198,000 toy-related injuries and deaths were among children aged 14 years and younger. Each year thousands of children suffer injuries from toys, some severe enough that they need to be treated in an emergency room.

Juliette Jusme, a licensed practical nurse, said that around the holidays, she is more likely to see a high volume of younger children between the age of three to eight rushed to the hospital. Typically, from choking on small pieces of toys.

“A small plastic bullet from a toy gun, a wheel from a toy car, or even a Lego can cause a child serious injury,” Jusme said.

Children under three are more likely to risk choking on toys than older children. “Simply because children around that age category are prone to put random things in their mouths. In their minds, they are a bit more curious to see how certain things feel or taste.” Jusme added.

Wilgens Paul, another licensed practical nurse, commented on the issue as well.

“You’ll be surprised what kids will shove in their mouth and where they end up appearing in weird places in the body,” Paul said.

Parents are also warned to watch their children while playing with riding toys to avoid getting hit by vehicles. Riding toy injuries such as tricycles, scooters, and power ponies are more likely to occur in children between the age of five to fourteen.

According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, riding toys are responsible for an abundance of injuries. Most of these incidents occur when the child falls off of the equipment.

Karin Fisher, an MSN clinical nurse educational coordinator, said the most common injuries she has seen with older kids are on all-terrain vehicles, well known as ATV’s. This vehicle is usually driven on dirt roads. These incidents can cause head injuries,  spinal cord injuries, or even broken bones. Fisher warns parents to supervise their children at all times.

“Helmets are the first and foremost; and they don’t need to be going on the road, which I know is the fun part,” Fisher said.

Simply reading the warning label gives essential information on how to use a toy and what age group it is intended for. Consider toys with large pieces for children under the age of three to prevent choking hazards. Also, avoid shooting toys; these can cause severe eye injuries.

Even toys with small batteries or loose magnets should be on the parent or guardians radar.

Florida A&M University has a K-12 and daycare program as well. It is important as a whole that they also consider the safety and the potential harm among the younger rattlers. After all, they are the next generation. For this holiday season, be alert and carefully examine all toys before purchasing.