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Holiday Reality Check: Toy Safety

December 12, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Checking the list twice isn't just for Santa. It's advice for parents and others giving presents to kids. Because of toy-related accidents, more than 140,000 children across the country wound up in emergency rooms last year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and 13 of them died.

Noting that statistic, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association president Diana Rhodes advises making a safety check of gifts for kids. It is well worth the extra time, she says.

"We regularly find in some of our cases that the injuries could have been avoided, if only more attention had been given to safety."

Rhodes does not want that somber news to put a damper on festivities - a safety check takes just a few minutes, she says. Her tips: Remember that children under age 3 tend to put things in their mouths, and toys with jagged edges or projectiles are not suitable for toddlers, either.

Safety issues are not just for the youngest during the holidays, Rhodes adds.

"For older children, if you're giving gifts such as bicycles, snowboards or scooters, consider getting them a helmet, too."

An example of a toy too dangerous for small children is the Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade, which suddenly extends two feet. It is one of the 2011 "Ten Worst Toys" identified by W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm). The W.A.T.C.H. annual dangerous toy list is at http://toysafety.org/worstToyList_index.shtml.

More toy safety tips are available at www.WYTLA.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY