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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Offer Tips for Toy and Gift Safety

Watching children smile in delight while unwrapping toys and other gifts is a magical part of the holiday season. Pediatricians at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital encourage gift givers to exercise caution when selecting presents for young children.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2022 there were 11 deaths and more than 145,500 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms among children ages 12 and younger. The majority of the 11 deaths reported were attributed to choking associated with small parts, balls or balloons. Among the emergency room-treated injuries, non-motorized scooters accounted for the largest share of injuries across all age groups. Nonmotorized scooters accounted for 1 in every 5 toy-related injuries to children ages 14 and younger.

Pediatricians at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital offer the following tips for shoppers:

• Look for age-appropriate labels on toys. The toy should suit the age and individual skills and abilities of the child who will receive it, especially if the recipient is younger than 3 years old.

• Take note of safety warnings, information and labels.

• Avoid toys that shoot, have parts that fly off, have points or sharp edges.

• Make sure that toys are not too loud and will not cause hearing damage if the child holds it to their ear.

• Choose sturdy toys that will not break easily.

• Choose crayons and markers that are designated “nontoxic.”

• Toys made with fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant. Plush toys should be washable.

• Include protective equipment with sporting equipment. For example, give a helmet and protective padding when gifting a bicycle or skates.

• Toys with magnets and button batteries may cause serious injury or death if swallowed. Do not give gifts that contain these or any small parts to children younger than 3 years old.

• 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.

• Avoid toys with ropes, cords and heating elements.

• Once gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging before they become dangerous playthings.

• Show your children how to use the toy safely, and always supervise children as they play.

“Small pieces increase the risk for choking in small children, so the smaller the child, the larger the toy’s pieces should be,” said Dr. Edward Clark, medical director for Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital. “If you’re giving skates, a bicycle, a scooter or a similar outdoor toy, be sure to include a helmet and other protective equipment so the child can safely try out their new gift.”

CPSC experts also advise shoppers to exercise caution when shopping for toys online and recommend the following tips:

• Always read fully to the bottom of the listing or check drop-down menus for additional safety information, especially when shopping for children.

• 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.

Older toys may contain lead-based paint. In collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CPSC has seized more than 1.1 million dangerous or illegal toys in 2023. Of those, nearly 101,000 toy seizures were related to lead. Parents should always choose toys that use lead-free paint. As a precaution, parents should educate themselves on symptoms of lead poisoning and be aware of toys that have been recalled due to lead exposure. Parents should contact a physician if they believe their child has been exposed to lead. If an emergency situation does arise, the Pediatric Emergency Center at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital was designed specifically for children and families, and is staffed by board-certified pediatric specialists. Located at 888 Pine Street in Macon, care is available 24 hours a day.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 155,000 team members across 68 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.