Toys Sending More Kids to ER, Feds Say

In 2009, there were an estimated 250,100 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency Departments, according to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The annual average of estimated toy-related injuries from 2005 to 2009 is 228,200, so the 2009 toll is about 10 percent above the recent yearly average and is 25 percent above the total recorded five years ago. The CPSC calls that increase "statistically significant."

Nearly half of the estimated emergency department treated injuries are classified as lacerations, contusions, or abrasions. Forty-five percent of the estimated injuries were to the head and face area, the most common affected area of the body.

Of the 250,100 estimated emergency department treated toy-related injuries, an estimated 185,900, or 74 percent, occurred to children younger than 15 years of age, while an estimated 90,600 occurred to children younger than five years of age.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal thinks the CPSC should investigate why these toy-related child injuries requiring emergency room visits are rising.

"The startling upsurge in emergency room visits for toy-related injuries -- 25 percent since 2005 -- is deeply disturbing, requiring further analysis and study," Blumenthal said. "With the holidays upon us, parents and regulators need to know why toys are sending more and more kids -- especially those under five - to emergency rooms. This increase is intolerable -- turning playtime into hospital time."

Blumenthal said he is particularly concerned that  18,000 more children under 5 visited emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2009 than in 2005, according to the study.

"I am calling on CPSC to investigate and identify the reasons for this significant rise in serious injuries involving toys," Blumenthal said. "CPSC must use its findings for recommendations, which may include tougher regulation and better parent education."

Blumenthal will soon be in a position to exert greater influence on CPSC and other safety agencies. The Connecticut Attorney General was elected to the U.S. Senate earlier this month, and will take his seat in Congress in January.



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