Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Smith: The study found that from 1990 through 2011, an estimated 3,278,073 children younger than 18 years of age were treated in United States emergency departments for toy related injuries. The annual injury rate per 10,000 children increased by nearly 40% during that time period. The increase was largely associated with ride-on toys, particularly foot-powered scooters. Ride-on toys accounted for 34.9% of all injuries and 42.5% of hospital admissions.
The study is the first to comprehensively investigate toy-related injuries among children using a nationally representative data set, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Smith: Health care professionals, along with parents and child caregivers, should be aware of the increase in the rate of toy-related injuries, especially those associated with ride-on toys. Helmets and other protective gear are important tools for preventing those injuries. Health care professionals should continue to proactively educate parents and child caregivers about toy-related injury prevention strategies.
The study also found an estimated 109,753 injuries involving the ingestion or aspiration of a toy foreign body among children younger than 5 years of age. Small toys and small toy parts are a choking hazard for young children, especially those younger than 3 years of age. Parents and child caregivers should follow age restrictions and other manufacturer guidelines for all toys.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Smith: Product recalls can play an important role in child toy safety, but they have historically yielded low product return rates. A rigorous study of factors influencing recall effectiveness has not been conducted in decades. Such a study could lead to changes that improve recall rates and ultimately result in fewer toy-related injuries and other consumer product-related injuries.
Toy-Related Injuries Among Children Treated in US Emergency Departments, 1990-2011
Vihas M. Abraham, Christopher E. Gaw, Thiphalak Chounthirath, and Gary A. Smith
CLIN PEDIATR 0009922814561353, first published on November 30, 2014 doi:10.1177/0009922814561