Toys are meant to provide enjoyment and education for children of all ages, however they can also provide a great deal of danger. Small children, when left unsupervised, are susceptible to confusion and wonderment, and that can lead to injuries to the eye, mouth, throat, ear, arms, or legs, depending on the toy and the possibilities. After all, the majority of toy-related injuries are associated to the toy itself, but they aren’t necessarily caused by the toy.

More than three billion toys and games are manufactured and sold each year, and they come in so many different shapes and sizes. Children 5 and under are most often at the highest risk of a toy-related injury, but essentially no child is safe without the proper supervision and knowledge. Choking is generally the most common toy-related injury, but with so many different toys and games, children are also left open to burns, fractures, falls, bruising, suffocation, drowning, and poisoning.

While toys come with instructions and age warnings, it is important to remember that children need to be taught how to use each toy properly in order to avoid suffering an injury. Toy-related injuries occur most among male children, and the majority of these injuries happen to the face, head, eyes, neck, mouth, and ears. Children under the age of 3 experience the most choking accidents of any age group.

Riding toys are the most notorious when it comes to both toy-related fatalities and injuries. Balloons are the most common cause of choking among children. Parents should choose to use Mylar balloons as opposed to latex balloons, because the latter is smaller easier for a child to put into his mouth. Children under the age of 8 should never be allowed to inflate their own latex balloons unless they are under immediate adult supervision.

When selecting toys, the most important aspect is the design quality and construction of the toy. The instruction and safety labels should always be read carefully, with every aspect of the law and advisory councils being taken into consideration. Toys should always be used in their proper environments, as riding toys, for instance should not be used anywhere near swimming pools or stairs.

Children should also learn from an early age how to put their toys away properly. This isn’t just a helpful hint to avoid the child’s injury, but also an adult injury. Children’s toys should also be separated by age of use, as younger children should not have any access to more complex toys intended for older children. Parents should also do additional research on toys that have commonly ingested or swallowed pieces to avoid purchasing or receiving those toys for their child or children.

Children should never be allowed to play with toys with long cords, as they can lead to strangling and suffocation. Any toys that require plugs should also be kept away from small children as to avoid access to electrical outlets. This can lead to burns, abrasions and bruising. In some cases, toys that operate with batteries can also lead to burns and even poisoning.


In 2006, 22 toy-related deaths were reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission involving children under the age of 15. Riding toys were the No. 1 cause for toy-related deaths, with toy nails, pegs and rubber balls also causing fatalities. The majority of these deaths occurred because of motor vehicles or suffocation caused by the toys.

Additionally, there were an estimated 220,050 toy-related injuries in 2006. These injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms and include children of all ages. However, 165,100 of these injuries happened to children under the age of 15. These injuries included lacerations, bruising and abrasions, with the head and face as the most affected areas. Riding toys were again the No. 1 cause.

Of the injuries and fatalities caused by riding toys, 75 percent of them are related to motor vehicles. Riding toy injuries and deaths can also be related to falls and drowning.

In 2002, choking was responsible for 54 percent of all toy-related fatalities. Balloons were responsible for 43 percent of those deaths, while the rest were caused by drowning, suffocation or traffic collisions.

Nearly 50 percent of all toy-related injuries occur to the head and face, with the mouth, eyes and ears being most affected.

Every year the cost of emergency room treatment for children under the age of 4 that have suffered toy-related injuries is more than $385 million.

Nearly 60 percent of toy-related injuries happen to male children.

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