This year, be sure to review this list of potentially unsafe toys and gifts before you do your shopping.
TrampolinesA home trampoline may seem like a lot of fun and they are relatively inexpensive, which may be how they often find themselves in the backyards of many families. And parents may think that getting a trampoline is a good way to get their kids off the couch and get them some fresh air and exercise.
Children are often injured on home trampolines though and the American Academy of Pediatrics has gone so far as to recommend that they never be used at home or on playgrounds. Even supervising your child while he is jumping on the trampoline, sticking to rules of only allowing one child to jump at a time, and putting a safety net around your trampoline will not prevent all injuries, so just follow the AAP recommendations and don't buy a trampoline.
All Terrain VehiclesMotorized cycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are another popular gift for children, especially in rural areas. These include miniature motorcycles that are sometimes used by children as young as age 4, and can include minibikes, minicycles, trailbikes, and trailcycles.
Three and four wheeled all-terrain vehicles are also popular gifts by parents. Reviewing safety statistics makes it hard to understand why though:
- There have been 2800 deaths from ATVs since 1985, with about 36 percent of those in children under age 16.
- There are about 54,500 emergency room visits each year because of ATV injuries, and about 47 percent of those are for children.
GunsIf you are looking for a toy for your child, don't buy them a BB gun, pellet gun, air rifle, or paintball gun. These nonpowder guns can cause serious injuries, should not be characterized as toys, and should only be used under adult supervision.
Loud ToysSurprisingly, some toys are loud enough to cause hearing damage, especially in young children who might hold them closer to their ears that expected. That makes it important to screen the noise level of new toys.
The iPod revolution may also lead to a generation with hearing problems. If you are getting your child an iPod, you should also have a discussion of the dangers of listening to music with headphones too loudly. Some signs that the music may be too loud include that your child hears ringing in his ears after listening to music, if he can't hear you talking over his music, or if you can hear his music while he is listening to it through his headphones.
Xbox 360Although the Microsoft Xbox 360 and similar gaming systems are likely on every kid's must have list, keep in mind that many of the most popular games that are available for these video game systems are rated 'T' (Teen) or 'M' (Mature). They seem to have far fewer E (Everyone) and EC (Early Childhood) kid-friendly games than other systems, such as the Nintendo Wii, which may make some of these video game systems a poor choice for preschool age children and younger school age children.
- AAP Policy Statement. Trampolines at Home, School, and Recreational Centers. PEDIATRICS Vol. 103 No. 5 May 1999, pp. 1053-1056
- AAP Policy Statement. All-Terrain Vehicle Injury Prevention: Two-, Three-, and Four-Wheeled Unlicensed Motor Vehicles. AAP Policy 2000 105: 1352-1354.
- AAP Policy Statement. Injury Risk of Nonpowder Guns. AAP Policy 2004 114: 1357-1361.