Make sure Santa's gifts are safe this year

Monday, December 15, 2014

You can almost feel the level of activity building up to a Christmas Day crescendo, followed by another, smaller peak on New Years Eve and Day -- a quiet minute is a rare commodity in the waning days of December.

Holidays are a great time for spending time with family and friends, but not for a trip to the emergency room.

Despite extensive safety regulations, more and more children are being injured by toys each year.

According to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital, a child is treated in an emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury.

That's 3.3 million injuries from 1990 to 2011, an increase of 40 percent. About half of them were children younger than five, and more than 109,000 of them involved choking on toys with small pieces.

But choking is not the most common reason for a trip to the ER. About half of the injuries are due to falls or crashes while riding scooters or tricycles for kids older than 5 and a quarter for younger children.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers some tips both before and after Santa arrives:

* Buy age-appropriate toys and read the warning labels.

* Before buying, make sure there aren't any small parts or potential choking hazards.

* Include a helmet with a bike, skateboard, scooter or other riding toy.

* Store toys in a bin or container for the next playtime, and make sure there are no small holes or hinges to pinch little fingers.

* Check for recalls at www.recalls.gov

Safe Kids reports 181,500 children treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury in 2010, nearly 500 every day and half of them children 4 and under.

Do your best to make sure one of your friends or loved ones isn't among them this year.

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