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ACH Offers Toy Safety Tips for Happy and Healthy Holidays

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Dec. 20, 2013) – The holidays are upon us and along with the carols, hot cocoa and cookies, gift-giving is a favorite activity shared among family and friends. As we shop for that perfect gift for a child, safety should be a top priority.

According to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 181,500 children under the age of 15 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments due to toy-related injuries in 2010.

"Supervision is a key piece of the injury prevention puzzle," said Olivia Wilson, injury prevention analyst at the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital. "We tend to visit others' homes more during the holidays, so it is important to remember not every home has been childproofed."

Keep your children cheerful and safe this holiday season with these tips from the ACH Injury Prevention Center:

  • Choose toys appropriate for your child's age and skill level. Follow the guidelines on labels about which age group a toy is most suitable for.
  • Choking is a big concern. Children tend to put many objects in their mouth, and items such as balloons, small balls and other toys with small parts are particularly hazardous. Check toys regularly for damage or loose pieces to decrease the chance of choking hazards.
  • Batteries are both a choking danger and a poison danger. Coin-sized "button" batteries, commonly found in remote controls, key fobs, toys and small electronics, are easy to swallow and can cause holes in the throat, tissue damage or even death. Keep screw-down lids on items with these batteries, and store replacement batteries safely out of children's reach. If you suspect your child may have swallowed a button battery, seek emergency care and inform the health care staff that this may have occurred.
  • Immediately after opening gifts, remove plastic wrap, ribbons and other choking or suffocation hazards from a child's reach.
  • If secondhand toys are purchased or received, parents should visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, www.cpsc.gov, or call 1-800-638-2772 to make sure the toy has not been recalled for safety reasons.
  • If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in and the manufacturer will contact you if the item is ever recalled.
  • Establish rules about safe play and consequences for breaking the rules.
  • Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys as well as any toy that has small parts, electrical or battery power, cords or any other potential hazard. Not only does it reduce the risk of injury, it promotes social and emotional learning for children.

For additional safety information, contact ACH's Injury Prevention Center at 501-364-3400 or visit http://www.archildrens.org/injury_prevention.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown to span 29 city blocks and house 370 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.

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