Remember Safety Tips During Holidays, Children's Medical Center Reminds Families

December 11, 2012

Children’s Medical Center’s ( Injury Prevention Service wants to keep children safe this holiday season by helping families choose appropriate gifts for little ones to avoid injuries.

An average of 20 children a year die in the U.S. after being injured or involved in accidents with toys, according to Safe Kids Greater Dallas. In 2011, 13 children younger than age 15 died in toy-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Such accidents appear to be on the rise in recent years, with an estimated 262,300 children visiting emergency rooms across the country for toy-related injuries in 2011, statistics show.

Experts at Children’s, which has the only Level 1 Trauma Center in North Texas, offer this key information to keep loved ones safe:

  • Riding toys: These toys, such as non-motorized scooters, skateboards and tricycles, are the leading culprits associated with such injuries, Safe Kids Greater Dallas reports. In 2009, more than 49,500 children were treated nationally for injuries associated with non-motorized scooters. “Parents need to make sure to buy the recommended safety gear that comes along with sporting equipment,” said Claudia Romo, program manager of Children’s Injury Prevention Service.

  • Choking: Small objects such as balloons, rubber balls, marbles and coins are easily swallowed, making such incidents a leading cause of injury for children ages 3 and younger. Mylar balloons are a safer alternative than latex balloons, which ranked as the top cause of choking deaths, especially for children 5 and younger. Children also might swallow button-sized batteries, such as those found in small toys or greeting cards that play music.

  • Strangulation: Toys with strings, straps, cords, ribbons and loops should be avoided because of the strangulation hazards they pose to children. Such toys should never be hung in cribs or playpens, because babies and toddlers could become entangled in them.

  • Shock/burns: Electrical toys also pose potential burn or shock hazards. Check for frayed or uncovered wires. And children younger than 8 should not use any toy with a heating element, including wood-burning tools, Safe Kids Greater Dallas recommends.

  • Watch the ages: Parents should buy age-appropriate toys after checking safety labels and suggested age ranges. “Parents need to be mindful of where they store their children’s toys,” Romo said. “Younger siblings should not be able to reach their older siblings’ toys if they are not age-appropriate.”   

  • Damaged toys: Caregivers should check all toys regularly for damage, breakage and potential safety hazards, and throw away toys that aren’t repaired, Safe Kids Greater Dallas advises. Children’s also urges parents to check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website ( for updated information and pictures of recalled toys that may be harmful to children.

About Children’s Medical Center

The not-for-profit Children's Medical Center is the fifth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the country, with 559 licensed beds, two full-service campuses and 10 outpatient sites. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the only pediatric teaching facility in North Texas, affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. For more information, please visit