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Ride-On Toys Can Pose Serious Injury Risks

If you plan to buy your child a “ride-on” toy this holiday season, it is important to consider the risks. A new study suggests that these popular toys could be to blame for a recent rise in child injuries.

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently conducted a groundbreaking child injury study, which is the first to use data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. It revealed that an estimated 3,278,073 children were treated in United States emergency departments from 1990 through 2011 for a toy-related injury. In 2011, a child was treated every three minutes.

As detailed in a press statement, the researchers also found that the rate of injury rose almost 40 percent during the 22-year period. Much of the increase is linked to the use of foot-powered scooters and other similar toys.

According to the study, ride-on toys were associated with 42 percent of injuries to children 5 to 17 years of age and 28 percent of injuries to children younger than 5. Injuries with ride-on toys were also three times more likely to involve a broken bone or a dislocation than other toys. Falls and collisions were the most common types of injuries among all toy categories.

Earlier this month, we highlighted the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.’s (W.A.T.C.H.) list of most dangerous toys. It included the Radio Flyer Ziggle, which qualifies as a ride-on toy. According to the group, “Its low profile makes the toy potentially hazardous for outdoor use. Furthermore, despite a warning to ‘always wear’ a helmet and other safety gear, the young rider pictured on the box is wearing no protection.”

For parents who are not ready to put away the wagons and tricycles, there are ways to reduce the risk of injury. Below are several tips from Nationwide Children’s Hospital:

  • Follow age restrictions and other manufacturer guidelines for all toys.
  • Examine toys for small parts that could be choking hazards for young children.
  • Use riding toys on dry, flat surfaces away from vehicle traffic.
  • Closely supervise any child who is younger than 8 years of age on a riding toy.
  • Wear helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads on scooters and other riding toys with wheels.
  • Check to see if toys that you own or may buy have been recalled.