Riding toys -- tricycles, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, scooters and the like -- caused nine of the 19 reported deaths in 2008. They also accounted for 26 percent of the 172,700 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments, more than any other type of toy, the agency said.
People who buy their child a riding toy need to buy the helmet, pads and other safety equipment necessary for safe use, Fleming stated.
"The complete gift includes all the safety gear," she said.
When shopping, parents can improve their chances of picking a safe toy by paying attention to the warning labels on toy packaging, Fleming and Hitchcock said.
The labels don't pertain to a child's aptitude. Rather, they take into account a wide range of developmental factors like dexterity and "mouthing behavior" to determine which toys pose a hazard to younger children.
"Always be a good label reader," Fleming said. "These labels are provided for safety."
For more on the Trouble in Toyland report, visit U.S. PIRG.
SOURCES: Liz Hitchcock, public health advocate, U.S. PIRG, Washington, D.C.; Nychelle Fleming, spokeswoman, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, Md.; Nov. 24, 2009, Trouble in Toyland report, U.S. PIRG
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