The Short of It
Hospital ERs will treat about 2.7 million children this summer due to injuries caused by ... well ... toys.
To help parents keep their kids safe over the next few months, consumer advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) has just come out with its list of the top 10 summer hazards for kids, in an effort to raise awareness of the children's products that can cause serious injury.
Topping this year's list are toy guns and other airborne items that have sharp edges, like darts and helicopters, that can cause potentially serious injuries to the face and eyes.
"Unfortunately, we see quite a few blunt trauma injuries from toy guns," pediatric emergency medicine expert Dr. Mark Waltzman told CBS News. "Especially to the eyes."
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Pellet guns are the worst offenders. "I've actually seen kids lose eyes because of them," he said. "I saw one thin kid, where the pellet went into his abdomen and he had to go to the OR." The child's sibling had held the gun against his abdomen and fired.
Yikes! In order to stay safe, Waltzman said kids should wear protective goggles, and parents should read all instructions carefully and hang around to supervise play.
Hoverboards also made the list—no surprise there, since they have been known to spontaneously burst into flames.
"I hate hoverboards," Waltzman said. "I worked Christmas Day, and within four hours, I had four hoverboard injuries—two broken arms, one broken leg and a concussion. Two of the kids had to go to the OR. Not exactly what these families wanted to be doing on Christmas morning."
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Shallow water in the backyard is apparently a big risk in summer, too. Seemingly innocent items, like baby pools and buckets, can be deadly for small children, who can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, according to WATCH.
"I have taken care of babies who have drowned in these blow-up pools," Waltzman said. "And buckets where parents are washing the car with a bucket half-full of water and a toddler falls in head first and can't get out. The key is if there's any amount of water outside, you have to be watching your kid. You can't take your eyes off them for an instant. In toddlers, it takes as little as 90 seconds without a breath before you actually see oxygen in the brain drop down."
Other safety concerns highlighted in this year's report include pool covers, flotation devices and water wings, trampolines and bouncy houses, non-motorized scooters, bicycle helmet straps, toys with small parts that pose a choking hazard, and fireworks of any kind—even when adults set them off.
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This list is pretty intense. Next, they'll be warning us that our kids can get strangled in a kite string or choke to death on bubbles!
I know kids can get into all sorts of trouble if we're not paying attention, but is there anything left for them to play with these days that is actually considered safe besides a large empty field? Is the only alternative to keep our kids inside and "force" them to play video games all day?
What do you think—do you own any of the items that made the list? And if so, will you now ban them this summer? Let us know in the comments!