Toy Injuries on The Rise

We recently wrote that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently reported that while toy recalls are declining, injuries to children are on the rise. Now, Consumer Reports is also reporting on this concerning issue.

According to Consumer Affairs, some 250,100 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2009, citing the CPSC. This means that when compared to the yearly average from 2005 to 2009 of 228,200, 2009 saw a 10 percent increase for the recent yearly average and 25 percent over five years ago. The CPSC described this change as “statistically significant.

The jump prompted the agency to release its Top Three Tips for a Safer Holiday Toy Shopping and Playing Experience.

Close to half of the injuries believed to be related to toys and treated in emergency departments were described as “lacerations, contusions, or abrasions,” wrote Consumer Affairs with 45 affecting the face and head. Also, of the toy-related injuries requiring emergency room treatment, most—185,900 or 74 percent—involved children under the age of 15 and 90,600 to children under the age of five, explained Consumer Affairs.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is calling for the CPSC to look into why these types of injuries are on the rise, saying, quoted Consumer Affairs, “The startling upsurge in emergency room visits for toy-related injuries—25 percent since 2005—is deeply disturbing, requiring further analysis and study…. With the holidays upon us, parents and regulators need to know why toys are sending more and more kids—especially those under five—to emergency rooms. This increase is intolerable—turning playtime into hospital time.”

Particularly concerned with the increase in emergency department visits for children under five in 2009 versus 2005—18,000 additional—Blumenthal said, “I am calling on CPSC to investigate and identify the reasons for this significant rise in serious injuries involving toys, quoted Consumer Affairs. “CPSC must use its findings for recommendations, which may include tougher regulation and better parent education,” he added. Of note, Blumenthal was elected to the U.S. Senate earlier this month and is expected to take his Congressional seat in January, noted Consumer Affairs.

“By limiting metals and chemicals in toys and making the voluntary standard mandatory, CPSC has put safeguards in place for toys to better protect children,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The increase in injuries is a concern, and we want parents to make safe purchases and for children to be safe at play. To help keep what has been called the most wonderful time of the year happy and incident-free, CPSC is encouraging consumers to adopt a three-pronged safety approach.”

The CPSC’s approach involves steps that include, in part, choosing age appropriate toys, including safety gear when purchasing sports-related gifts, and maintaining awareness of children during play.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of defective children’s toys and products is available at www.toyinjuries.com.

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