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For Release: December 8, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams, 
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Preventing Toy Injuries During the Holidays

One of the most anticipated gift-giving seasons is just around the corner!  According to Safe Kids USA, more than 65 percent of toys in the United States are purchased between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) would like to remind Oklahomans to keep safety in mind when selecting children’s gifts this year.

Safe Kids USA reports that there are approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries in the United States each year, and 15 children younger than 14 years of age die from a toy-related incident annually.  Riding toys, such as scooters and tricycles, are associated with more injuries than any other toys, and the most frequent cause of toy-related death is choking on small toys or small parts of toys. Most, if not all, of these injuries can be prevented.  When shopping for children’s toys, Safe Kids USA and the OSDH promote the following safety tips:

  • Choose toys according to the child’s age, interest and skill level.
  • Read warning labels for age recommendations, instructions on how to use and/or assemble toys, and the presence of small parts.
  • Be aware of toys with small parts – objects smaller than a child’s fist can pose a choking hazard to young children, particularly for children 3 years of age and younger.
  • When purchasing riding toys for children, it is important to also purchase appropriate safety gear (helmets, elbow and knee pads, etc).
  • Be cautious of younger children playing with toys purchased and intended for older siblings.
  • Actively supervise children during play and set examples of safe play.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers additional tips to prevent injuries this holiday season:

  • Monitor Children: Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of their reach. Make sure toys are used properly.
  • Practice fire safety: Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended.  Use alternative heating devices properly as indicated by the manufacturer.  Install smoke alarms and test them at least once a month. Develop and practice a fire escape plan.
  • Travel safely: Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle.  Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat or seat belt according to the child's height, weight, and age.  Don't drink and drive, and don't let anyone else drink and drive.

Additional information on Safe Kids USA’s Toy Safety Campaign can be found on their website: http://sk.convio.net/site/PageNavigator/Campaigns/ToySafety/campaignToySafety. More holiday health and safety tips can be found on the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/.

 

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