December is Safe Toys & Gift Month – Choose Wisely

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Provided by Prince William County Fire & Rescue

Prince William County Seal

During this time of the year, children become excited in anticipation of the toys they’ll receive from Santa, friends and family. Yet if not properly selected, the toys chosen may cause injury, even death. In 2014, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ( conducted a toy injury report which stated an estimated 251,800 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Of those injuries:

  • 183,800 (73 %) happened to children under 15 years of age
  • 173,300 (69%) occurred to children under 12 years of age
  • 84,400 (34%) occurred to children under 5 years of age.

Non-motorized scooters were the category of toys associated with the majority (25-26%) of those injuries treated which primarily consisted of lacerations, contusions or abrasions to the head and face.

During this same time period, there were 11 toy-related deaths among children younger than 12 years of age. Toys associated with seven (64%) of those deaths were riding toys due to motor vehicle involvement.

December is Safe Toys & Gifts Month. Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee, in conjunction with CPSC, urges individuals to carefully select toys prior to purchase in an effort to reduce toy-related injuries and deaths this holiday season and throughout the year by following these simple safety tips when purchasing toys:

  • Scooters, Riding Toys, Skateboards and In-line Skates
    • Fast toys can cause falls and can be deadly.
      • Always wear properly fitted helmets and safety gear.
  • Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts (children age 3 and younger)
    • Avoid toys with small parts; they pose a choking hazard
  • Balloons – Un-inflated or Broken Balloons (children age 8 and younger)
    • Can cause a choking or suffocating hazard.
      • Keep un-inflated balloons from children.
      • Discard broken balloons IMMEDIATELY.
  • Magnets (children age 6 and younger)
    • Avoid building sets and/or play sets with small magnets.
      • Magnets or pieces with magnets pose serious injury and/or death if swallowed.
  • Chargers and Adapters
    • Adult supervision is required when charging batteries.
      • Batteries pose a thermal burn hazard to young children.

Choose Appropriate Toys for Appropriate Age

  • Read labels
    • Labels give age and safety recommendations.
  • Be selective
    • Choose toys suited to age, abilities, skills and interest level of the child.
  • The sturdier the better
    • Check for tightly-secured eyes, noses and other potential small parts.
  • Avoid sharp objects
    • Check for sharp edges and points that can cause serious injuries.

Once the Gifts are Open

  • IMMEDIATELY discard plastic wrappings from toys.
  • Keep toys for older children away from younger children.
  • Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers; PWL some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.

Checking It Twice

Before discarding that gift list, make sure items purchased DO NOT appear on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recalled toys or children’s products list. To receive recall email notification visit U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at or call their toll free hotline (800) 638-CPSC (2772).

To report an unsafe product, visit




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