There were an estimated 220,500 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2006, and about 165,100 of the injuries involved children younger than 15, according to the CPSC.
Another 22 children under age 15 died in toy-related accidents, according to the CPSC. The two main causes of death were airway obstruction from small toys and injuries sustained from riding toys.
The choking hazard posed by small toys, or toys containing small pieces, is well-known and highly publicized. Small balls, balloons and pieces of broken balloons are particularly dangerous, as they can block a child's airway.
Parents are urged to examine toys thoroughly, and even use a cardboard tube to test and see whether a piece could get lodged in their child's throat.
"You don't even have to bother buying a tube," Hitchcock said. "Just use a toilet paper tube you've got in your bathroom, anyway."
Less emphasized up to now has been the danger posed by riding toys. As scooters, skates and other such toys grow in popularity, however, more children are being hurt and even killed in accidents involving them.
In 2006, three deaths occurred when children riding on non-motorized scooters either hit or were hit by an automobile. Two deaths involved tricycle mishaps, and three more involved powered riding toys.
"If you're going to buy ride-on toys, anything that gives your child more mobility, we want to make sure you also are buying the proper safety equipment," Fleming said. "If you do buy that brand new shiny bike, you should also buy the helmet. You should get the complete package for your child."
Another toy hazard involves playthings with magnetic pieces. If a child swallows more than one magnet, they can attract each other in the body and cause blockages.
"If you swallow one, it may pass through," Fleming said. "If you swallow two or more, th
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