The holiday season is here and many of us are shopping for children. If toys are on your list, take a moment to consider how safe they are. According to CBC, a US study suggests that toy-related injuries have increased by 40 per cent in the last two decades.

Dr. Gary Smith, an injury prevention researcher and director of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found that a child was treated in an emergency department for a toy-related injury every three minutes in the US. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s database of 17 emergency departments showed that there were 2,761 cases of toy-related injuries from 2010 to 2011.

“The increasing number and rate of toy-related injuries to children, especially those associated with ride-on toys, underscore the need for increased efforts to prevent these injuries,” said Smith.

Ride-on toys were three times more likely to be related with a fracture or dislocation. Foot-powered scooters, wagons and tricycles were linked with 42 per cent of injuries. Helmets should be used with ride-on toys.

For children under three, toys including magnets, batteries and smaller parts pose choking hazards.

Pamela Fuselli, vice-president of knowledge transfer and stakeholder relations at Parachute, offers safety tips for parents and caregivers in the CBC article including:

Visit our 5 Tips for Toy Safety – A Holiday Reminder to ensure kids are safe with their new toys this holiday season.

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It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure kids are safe with their new toys during the holiday season.

Below are five toy safety tips to consider:

  1. Choking is the leading cause of toy-related death. A good rule of thumb: any toy or toy part that can be passed through a toilet roll tube is unsafe for a child under three. Broken and deflated balloons pose a serious choking hazard. Balls for children under six should be more than 1.75 inches in diameter.
  2. Magnets can look like candy, but could have life-threatening complications if swallowed.