WRITER: LENA BAKER
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Dec. 11, 2001
UI Injury Prevention Research Center stresses toy safety this holiday
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- According to the Toy Industry Association, families spend
an estimated $350 in toys per child every year. While toy sales increase during
the holiday season, so does the risk of toy-related injuries.
Every year there are 150,000 toy-related injuries serious enough to require
emergency room treatment, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Many toys contain small parts that could be choking hazards, while others
make loud noises that can cause hearing impairments. So before you buy that
cap gun or bouncing ball for your child, take some precautions.
John Lundell, deputy director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at
the University of Iowa, said parents should use common sense when purchasing
toys for their children.
"The first thing to look for in any toy is whether or not it is age
appropriate for the child," Lundell said. "Not all toys are for
One of the biggest concerns is choking hazards. The 1994 Child Safety Protection
Act requires a warning on toys that contain small parts. The standard for
a choking hazard toy is whether it can fit into a "no-choke testing tube."
This tube is approximately the diameter of a cardboard toilet paper roll.
If an object can fit easily into the tube, it is a choking hazard for children
under age 3.
Also be cautious of balloons. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research
Group, balloons are a leading choking killer. They should be kept away from
children younger than age 8.
Toys with strings and cords can be very dangerous for infants and young children.
According to the CPSC, never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops or
ribbons in cribs or playpens where children can become entangled.
Loud noises are also a concern. According to the CPSC, the law requires a
label on boxes of caps producing noise above a certain level. Caps producing
noise that can injure a child's hearing have been banned.
The CPCS encourages parents to periodically check all toys for breakage and
potential hazards. A damaged or dangerous toy should be thrown away or repaired
Another good practice is teaching children to put their toys away safely
on shelves or in a toy chest after playing to prevent trips and falls.
Lundell recommends that this holiday season, as children receive gifts such
as bicycles and skateboards, that they are also properly protected.
"If you give your child a bike, scooter, skateboard or roller blades
this year, make sure that you also include the proper safety equipment, such
as knee and elbow guards, and especially a helmet," he said.
For more information about toy safety, consider these Web sites: www.safekids.org,
www.toysafety.net and www.cpsc.gov.