Nearly half of all injury-related deaths in children occur during the summer months, according to World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.). The consumer advocacy group released their 2014 summer safety hazards watch list on June 5, 2014.
The annual list from consumer advocates Joan E. Siff, President of W.A.T.C.H., and James A. Swartz, a nationally known trial attorney and Director of W.A.T.C.H., rounds up a list of recalled toys and warns parents of potential injuries for children that can occur during common summertime activities.
Trap No. 1: Inflatable Bounce Houses
HAZARD: Potential for impact injury
Two children were recently injured in Colorado when the wind blew a bounce slide they were playing on 300 feet. This occurred less than a month after three children were injured in a New York bounce house accident.
In five years, there have been four deaths from inflatable playgrounds such as bounce houses and bounce slides, according to W.A.T.C.H. Approximately 31,069 injuries occured in the past five years, with 91 percent of the injuries specifically occuring in bounce houses.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Avoid inflatable bounce houses
Trap No. 3: Backyard Trampolines
HAZARD: Potential for fractures, cervical spine injuuries, and paralysis
Backyard trampolines, despite the additional safety features like netting and padding, can lead to serious injuries. In 2013, there were more than 79,000 trampoline injuries, the majority of which happened in people’s backyards. From 2000 to 2009 there were 22 trampoline-related deaths.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Do not use backyard trampolines!
Trap No. 3: Improperly Used, Designed Baby Gates
HAZARD: Children might fall or experience traumatic brain injuries
Baby gate-related injuries have more than tripled since 1990, according to W.A.T.C.H. Improper use, installation, as well as design defects are the primary culprits, leading to approximately five injured children per day, or an average of 1,794 injuries per year. Specifically, pressure-mounted baby gates should never be used at the top of stairs, or as barriers between children and water such as baby pools, lakes, or large pools.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Beware of the proper use and placement of baby gates!
Trap No. 4: Flotation Devices
HAZARD: Potential for drowning
For children between 1 to 4 years old, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death. W.A.T.C.H. warns that flotation devices such as inflatable rings or water wings, are not a replacement for adult supervision and “can provide a false sense of security.’’ These devices can also make it difficult to tell whether a child is in trouble. Nine people on average drown every day, with one out of every four deaths being a child under 14 years old.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Diligent supervision is required around water whether or not a child is using inflatable pool toys.
Trap No. 5: Airborne Toys
HAZARD: Potential for laceration, impact, and eye injuries
Toy helicopters and boomerangs can cause severe injuries on impact when they fall out of the sky and come in contact with a child’s head or face.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Avoid airborne toys that could lead to eye and other injuries!
Trap No. 6: Baby Pools
HAZARD: Potential for drowning
Baby pools, buckets, fountains, and other large water containers can be fun in the summertime, but present a serious hazard for young children who can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. From 2006 to 2010, 434 children under five years old died in small bodies of water, while 233 children under five years old were injured. Of those injuries and deaths, 92 percent occurred at home.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Never leave baby pools filled with water unattended in your backyard. Always empty baby pools, buckets, and other containers after each use, and turn them upside down so they cannot collect rain water!
Trap No. 7: Toys with Small Parts
HAZARD: Potential for ingestion and choking injuries
There’s an increasing volume of toys being recalled for causing injury to children due to small parts that present chocking hazards for young children. In the past 12 months in the United States and Canada, there have been 14 toy recalls involving more than 394,000 units.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Be familiar with the types of choking and ingestion hazards associated with toy injuries and deaths in the past. Check toys for long slender parts, pieces that could easily break off, and soft materials that could be ingested and block a young child’s airway!
Trap No. 9: Non-Motorized Scooters
HAZARD: Potential for impact injuries, traumatic brain injuries, death
The most toy-related injuries result from non-motorized scooters, according to W.A.T.C.H. More than 50,000 children under 15 years old are hospitalized for injuries associated with non-motorized scooters every year. In the past three years, five children were killed in traffic while riding non-motorized scooters.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Never let children use non-motorized scooters, or other riding toys, near traffic or without the proper safety gear.
Trap No. 8: Tricycles
HAZARD: Potential for fall and head injuries
From 2011 to 2012, seven children died when they feel from their tricycles into pools. According to W.A.T.C.H., pool patios are common spaces for children to ride wheeled toys, but there is a serious risk to this common activity.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Children should wear helmets, stay far away from water, and always be supervised when riding tricycles!
Trap No. 10: Drawstrings and Bicycle Helmets on Playgrounds
HAZARD: Potential for strangulation
Strangulation is the most common injury from drawstrings or straps dangling off of clothing or helmets on the playground, which can catch on equipment, vehicle doors, and other objects, causing asphyxiation and the potential for dragging. From 2001 to 2008, at least 40 children were killed on playground equipment, with 27 of those children dying from strangulation.
PREVENTION TIP FROM W.A.T.C.H: Remove drawstrings from children’s clothing. Remove bicycle helmets while on playground equipment.