With Christmas time here, it is important for locals to remember to follow safety precautions, especially when it comes to childrens’ presents — toys.
Toy-related deaths to children, younger than 15, increased to 17 fatalities reported last year for 15 in 2009, along with approximately 181,500 children who were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries.
“EMS personnel are prepared to respond to emergencies during the holiday, however, most people can prevent toy-related injuries by taking precautions,” Ohio Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Jeffrey Leaming said. “It’s important to pay close attention to the types of toys parents and caregivers are purchasing for children this holiday.”
While toys are safer this Christmas season, due to stronger federal standards, the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Medical Services notes that toy-related injuries per year are still too high.
Wapakoneta firefighter and paramedic Eric Sammetinger said there are a couple guidelines to follow to prevent injury.
“It’s important to make sure that the toy is appropriate with the age range of the child,” Sammetinger said.
Non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with most injuries.
Sammetinger said that while riding scooters or other riding toys, it is important to wear proper safety attire, including helmets as well as knee and elbow pads.
The local fire department has a helmet program in the summertime to promote safety and proper usage of safety equipment.
In addition, EMS officials suggest caution when it comes to balloons, small balls and other toys with small parts, riding toys and magnets.
Children can choke on or suffocate on a deflated or broken balloon. Broken balloons should be discarded, along with being kept away from children under 8.
For children under 3, small balls and toys with small parts should be avoided, and they can cause choking.
Riding toys — including skateboards, scooters and in-line skates — go fast and can cause deadly falls. It is recommended that helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and should be sized to fit.
Children under 6 should avoid building or play sets with magnets because serious injuries or death can occur if magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed.
Also, as presents are being unwrapped, plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys should be discarded.
Appropriate toys for older children should be kept away from younger children.
The charging of batteries should be supervised by adults, and chargers and adapters can potential pose burn hazards to young children. Instructions and warnings on battery chargers should be reviewed and paid attention to.
In addition, batteries from a smoke detector should never be removed to power any toys.