As Holiday Shopping Gets Underway, CPSC Warns Dangerous Toys Linked to 11 Child Deaths, 150K Injuries in 2022

CPSC report indicates that non-motorized scooters account for one in every five toy-related injuries experienced among children 14 years old or younger last year.

Federal safety officials are warning consumers to be mindful of the injury risks associated with certain children’s toys as the holiday shopping season gets underway, indicating that there are a number of dangerous toys that may pose a risk of hospitalization or death.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its annual Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries report this month, indicating that there were more than 209,000 U.S. hospital emergency room visits linked to children’s toys last year.

More than 159,000 children aged 14 years or younger were hospitalized with a toy-related injury in 2022, including at least 11 fatalities. Additionally, more than 145,000 children aged 12 years or younger, and nearly 80,000 children aged four years or younger sustained serious toy injuries that required hospitalization in 2022.

The report highlights certain types of toys that were most associated with injuries and deaths last year, warning consumers to purchase age-appropriate toys, supervise activity with the products, and ensure they are purchased from a reputable distributor.

Dangerous Toys

Researchers analyzed toy-related emergency department data from the Consumer Product Safety Risk Management System (CPSRMS) and National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) for the 2022 calendar year. While 94% on the injuries involved individuals who were treated and released at the emergency department, three percent of the cases involved injuries severe enough to require hospital admission, or resulted in death.

The report indicates 76% of the injuries recorded involved children aged 14 years or younger, 69% involved children 12-years old or younger, and 38% involved children younger than five years of age. An estimated 41% of emergency department-treated injuries were classified as lacerations, contusions, or abrasions, while 47% of the injuries were to the face and head.

Non-motorized scooters accounted for the majority of reported injuries across all age groups, according to the report.

Toys with small parts, balls and balloons were also among the products with the highest links to child deaths. At least five such deaths reported last year involved children aged 12 years or younger, who choked or suffocated on a ball or balloon, and one suffered fatal blunt force trauma to the head after being hit by a ball.

Three reported fatalities involved riding toys, which included the drowning death of a three-year-old who accidentally rode his powered riding toy into an in-ground pool. Two separate incidents involved the deaths of two-year old children, who suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a vehicle while riding on a tricycle and a non-motorized scooter.

The remaining fatalities involved a 7-month-old who died from positional asphyxia after a stuffed animal was placed in his playpen, and a 6-year-old who suffered fatal complications from a small bowel perforation after she swallowed toy magnets.

CPSC Toy Safety Recommendations

While CPSC researchers indicate toy-related injuries among children under 14 years of age have decreased by nearly 12% since 2015, and injuries among children under the age of 13 decreased by 16%, the agency still urges consumers to ensure gifts given to children this holiday season are safe and purchased from a trustworthy retailer.

Online purchases have become more common in recent years, and online marketplaces that distribute products from multiple sellers are more risky to purchase from than when buying a product directly from a manufacturer or reputable online retail outlet, the CPSC warns.

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In a Home Safe Home release issued this month by the CPSC, the agency outlines recommendations for parents and caregivers, including:

  • Follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging, and choose toys that match your child’s interests and abilities.
  • Ensure your child uses properly fitted safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys.
  • Keep small balls or toys with small parts away from children under the age of three, and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old.
  • Immediately discard packaging, wrappings, or other plastic materials after opening gifts.
  • Ensure online gifts are purchased directly from the product manufacturer or through a reputable online retailer.
  • Thoroughly read safety information, product descriptions, and consumer reviews before purchasing gifts for children.
  • Before purchasing a second-hand or used product, visit CPSC.gov/recalls to verify the item has not been recalled.

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