Before you start checking off items on your holiday gift list, take a look at this sobering statistic. A new study has found that a child with a toy-related injury is treated in an emergency department in the United States every 3 minutes.
Every three minutes.
Researchers found that since 1990, toy-related injuries have increased by nearly 40 percent.
And which toy was the primary cause of that increase? The foot-powered scooter.
"The frequency and increasing rate of injuries to children associated with toys, especially those associated with foot-powered scooters, is concerning," study senior author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said in a news release from the Columbus, Ohio, hospital.
Of all of the toy-related injuries that brought kids into the emergency department, almost half — or 46 percent — were caused by falls. Another 22 percent were caused by collisions. Riding toys such as foot-powered scooters, wagons and tricycles were responsible for 42 percent of injuries among children aged 5 to 17, and 28 percent of injuries among children younger than 5. Researchers found that the foot-powered scooter stood out from the others when it came to the number of injuries caused. Foot-powered scooters accounted for more than 580,000 injuries between 2000 and 2011, or about one every 11 minutes.
For those who don't have kids in the scooter-riding age bracket, you might not know that a sleek scooter model manufactured by Razor exploded in popularity when it hit toy shelves in 2000. Razor scooters are lightweight, collapsible, and foot-powered, making them the ideal gift for boys and girls of all ages. Smith noted that scooter injuries peaked, fell dramatically, and then edged up again in the years after the Razor model was introduced.
According to Smith, this indicates that it may be time for a renewed push on scooter safety. The most important message, he says, is "wear a helmet, wear a helmet, wear a helmet."
Here are a few more safety tips for parents or anyone buying toys this holiday season:
- Read and follow the age restrictions listed on toy packaging.
- Limit riding toys to dry, flat surfaces, away from traffic.
- Closely supervise any child who is younger than 8 on a riding toy.
- Make children wear helmets, knee pads and elbow pads when they use scooters and other riding toys with wheels.
- Check the federal government's recall website to make sure that the toy you plan to buy has not been recalled.