In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found that over three million children were treated in United States emergency departments from 1990 through 2011 for a toy-related injury. In 2011, a child was treated every 3 minutes for such an injury. Slightly more than half of the injuries happened among children younger than 5 years of age.
The study, published online in Clinical Pediatrics and appearing in print in the February issue, also found that the rate of injury rose almost 40% during the 22-year period that researchers analyzed. Much of that increase was associated with foot-powered scooters. From 2000 through 2011, there were an estimated 580,037 injuries due to foot-powered scooters, or about 1 every 11 minutes.
“The frequency and increasing rate of injuries to children associated with toys, especially those associated with foot-powered scooters, is concerning,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, the study’s senior author.
As children get older, injuries involving riding toys increase. Those toys — which include foot-powered scooters, wagons, and tricycles — were associated with 42% of injuries to children 5 to 17 years of age and 28% of injuries to children younger than 5. Injuries with ride-on toys were 3 times more likely to involve a broken bone or a dislocation than other toys. Falls (46%) and collisions (22%) were the most common ways that children of all ages were injured in association with toys of all categories.