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For Release: December 13, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601

Safe Shopping During the Holidays Helps Prevent Children’s Injuries

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and gift giving is quickly approaching!  Safe Kids USA reports that there are more than 150,000 toy-related emergency room visits in the United States each year, and 20 children younger than 14 years of age die from a toy-related incident annually. In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds Oklahomans to make safety a priority when selecting children’s gifts this year.

Riding toys, such as scooters and tricycles, are associated with more injuries than any other toys, resulting in 50,000 emergency room visits each year. Some of the leading causes of toy-related death are choking on small toys, toy parts, and latex balloons. From 1990-2009, 198 children died after choking on a toy or toy part. These injuries can be prevented. 

When shopping for children’s toys, Safe Kids USA and the OSDH offer these 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.
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website (www.cpsc.gov) for up-to-date toy recall information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSDH offer 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. Don’t use generators, grills, or other gas- or charcoal-burning devices inside the home or garage. Install smoke and carbon monoxide 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://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/toy. More holiday health and safety tips can be found on the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/.

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