The holidays are here so enjoy but also be safe.

A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is highlighting the importance of safety when buying and playing with kids’ toys – even for older children.

CPSC’s Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries report found there were 11 deaths, and an estimated 145,500 emergency department-treated (ED) injuries in 2022 associated with toys for children 12 years and younger, according to a news release.

Death Stats

The majority of the 11 deaths reported were attributed to choking or asphyxiation associated with small parts, balls, or balloons. Among the ED-treated injuries, non-motorized scooters accounted for the largest share of injuries across all age groups – 35,400. Non-motorized scooters accounted for one in every 5 toy-related injuries to children aged 14 and younger.

While the report showed year-over-year shifts in injuries and deaths, CPSC researchers observed a statistically significant downward trend from 2015 to 2022 in toy-related injuries for children 14 years and younger. There was a nearly 12% decrease in the estimate of toy-related ED-treated injuries from 2015 (181,600) to 2022 (159,500) for children 14 years and younger whereas children under the age of 13 saw a 16% decrease (173,200 to 145,500).

Think Safety

Consumers should not only “think safety” about what they buy for children but should also be vigilant about where gifts are purchased, especially online. As e-commerce retailing continues to grow year-over-year for holiday sales, Chair Hoehn-Saric is urging caution when turning to online retail outlets.

“Consumers expect the products they purchase online to be as safe as those they buy in brick-and-mortar stores,” Chair Hoehn-Saric said. “While this is true when buying online directly from a manufacturer, purchasing from an online marketplace that services other sellers raises additional risks. Consumers need to educate themselves not only about what they buy but where and from whom. It’s important not to sacrifice safety.”

CPSC recommends following these tips when purchasing products online:

  • Remember that when buying gifts online you could be purchasing directly from a manufacturer, going through a retailer, or a third-party seller. In each instance, if you have a problem with a product or want to return or exchange it where you purchased the product matters. Look for the “sold by” information when purchasing from an online marketplace.
  • Do more than skim product descriptions. Always read to the bottom of the listing or check drop-down menus for additional safety information, especially when shopping for children.  Also, read customer reviews to see what other consumers have experienced with the product.
  • Look for a certification mark on toys from an independent testing organization on the manufacturer’s label.
  • If purchasing second-hand products from an online marketplace, check to see whether products have been recalled before you buy by going to CPSC.gov/recalls.
  • Buy from reputable dealers and if the price seems too good to be true, this can be a sign that the product is not authentic or original, and may be unsafe.

Highlights

CPSC is highlighting the following additional safety tips for safe and happy holiday activities including toy-buying, cooking, and decorating.

Toys

Did you know? In collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CPSC seized more than 1.1 million dangerous or illegal toys in fiscal year 2023. Of those, nearly 101,000 toy seizures were lead-related.

  • Follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging and choose toys that match each child’s interests and abilities.
  • Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys–and make sure that children use them every time.
  • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3 and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
  • Once the gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous playthings.

Cooking

Did you know? Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, according to CPSC’s report on Residential Fire and Loss Estimates. Of the 360,800 home fires every year, cooking fires account for nearly half of these. Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for cooking fires, with an average of 1,600 cooking fires occurring on this day – more than three times the daily average. CPSC data also shows that Black Americans have the highest rate of deaths from fire, nearly twice the overall rate across the population.

CPSC recommends following these tips for safe and fire-free holiday cooking:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
  • Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home or other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in an enclosed area like the garage or on the porch.

Holiday Decorations

Did you know?  On average, there are about 160 Christmas decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with over 40% of the incidents involving falls. In the 2022 holiday season (Nov. 1, 2021 – Jan.31, 2022), about 14,800 people were treated in hospital emergency departments due to holiday decorating-related injuries.

Keep holiday decorating merry, bright, and safe with these tips:

  • Ensure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree.
  • Never leave candles unattended. Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow or snuff them out before leaving the room. Use flameless candles whenever possible.
  • Never string together more than three sets of incandescent lights, and never overload electrical outlets.

Visit CPSC’s Holiday Safety Information Center for more holiday safety tips, as well as a sharable Holiday Safety video, poster, and b-roll that show the serious risks posed by using a turkey fryer too close to the home, a dry Christmas tree, and burning candles near flammable items.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission