FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Toys today are often cutting-edge wonders, loaded with gadgets and gizmos. But as toys become more sophisticated, they often pose new dangers for children that safety experts urge parents and gift-givers to consider.
Tiny magnets, powerful batteries and laser lights are among the features on modern toys that can be just as dangerous as small parts and sharp edges have always been.
"Toys are for fun, joy and learning," said Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety for the Consumer Federation of America. "They should be a source of all those things and less a source of potential and actual hazard. Parents need to be vigilant."
Her call for vigilance is backed by the numbers. Toy-related injuries sent more than 235,000 kids to U.S. emergency rooms for treatment in 2008, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another 19 children died as the result of a mishap involving a toy.
Choking hazards have long been a leading cause of death in children, prompting the creation of warning labels detailing small parts and recommending minimum ages for certain toys.
But in recent years, riding toys have proven to be the most dangerous type of toy on the market, according to the consumer agency. They were associated with the most deaths in 2008: Two children on tricycles were hit by a motor vehicle, and two others drowned after riding their tricycle into a pool. Other types of non-motorized riding toys accounted for another five deaths.
Riding toys also were associated with the most injuries. In fact, non-motorized scooters were involved in a quarter of all toy-related injuries treated at a hospital.
The injury statistics serve as a reminder that choosing the right toy is just a start and that there's still the need for parents to be ever vigilant when their children are at play, said Dr. Pete Kehoe, an Illino
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