DAN­GER­OUS TOYS But­ton bat­ter­ies, walk­ers and other safety risks you must know.

Fun is one thing, safety is an­other. Find out how you can pro­tect your kid from dan­ger­ous play.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

It’s that time of the year when your kids look for­ward to un­wrap­ping their favourite toys for Christ­mas.

While they de­serve the joy that such play­things bring, it’s also timely to re­mem­ber that toys can some­times pose very real health haz­ards.

In fact, toy-re­lated in­juries ac­count for more than 500 cases that the KK Women’s and Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal’s (KKH) depart­ment of emer­gency medicine sees each year, says a re­port in The Straits Times (ST).

Many of these in­juries oc­cur in chil­dren un­der five years old – of these, about half of the cases in­volve those aged one to three.

Dr Chong Shu-Ling, a physi­cian with KKH, tells

ST: “Al­though the ma­jor­ity of these in­juries are mi­nor, some are se­ri­ous and have led to surgery or hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion.”

Here’s what you must know about com­mon toy safety risks:

CHOK­ING

This is the big­gest toy safety con­cern, Dr Kao Pao Tang, head and se­nior con­sul­tant at the chil­dren’s emer­gency depart­ment of Na­tional Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal (NUH) tells ST.

Toys some­times come apart be­cause of bad de­sign or mis­use. The re­sult: small parts, beads, or Lego bricks end up in a child’s mouth or be­come lodged in her nos­trils or ears.

In his ST in­ter­view, Dr Chong gave the ex­am­ple of a two-year-old boy who was left to play un­su­per­vised, and had pulled out the but­ton eyes of his rab­bit soft toy.

He popped one but­ton into his mouth but didn’t like how it tasted. He then ac­ci­den­tally in­serted it into his nose, and had to be taken to the hos­pi­tal.

It’s also im­por­tant that par­ents look out for news on toy re­calls. ST re­ports that in De­cem­ber last year, Toys ‘R’ Us Sin­ga­pore is­sued a vol­un­tary re­call of Bruin Wig­gle Ball toys – the rub­ber knobs and plas­tic backs could de­tach and pose a chok­ing haz­ard to chil­dren.

And in Bri­tain, sev­eral mod­els of fid­get spin­ners were taken off the shelves when it was dis­cov­ered that their small parts popped out eas­ily.

BLEED­ING OR BURNS

En­ter­prise Sin­ga­pore has ad­vised par­ents to en­sure that fid­get spin­ners have tightly se­cured cases to pre­vent chil­dren from open­ing them, says ST’s re­port.

These toys are oper­ated by but­ton bat­ter­ies and bat­tery fluid poses very se­ri­ous risks. Swal­low­ing the bat­ter­ies causes not only chok­ing, but in­ter­nal bleed­ing and chem­i­cal burns as well.

It’s just as risky if your kid in­serts a but­ton bat­tery up his nos­tril. Dr Kao tells ST: “In the worst case, we have seen the nasal sep­tum to­tally per­fo­rated within half a day of the bat­tery be­ing in­serted.”

He added that be­sides bat­tery acid, the elec­tric cur­rent is harm­ful as well. “Most mod­ern toys are de­signed in such a way that it is not usu­ally easy to re­move the bat­ter­ies, but fail­ure of such de­sign is not un­com­mon,” he points out.

Look out for wear and tear, which can cause the screws that se­cure the bat­tery cover to come loose.

FALLS

Did you know that a baby in a walker can reach a speed of 1m per sec­ond? This is too fast for you to catch up to if she gets near an open door, a stair­case or a pot of boil­ing wa­ter, says the KK Women’s and Chil­dren's Hos­pi­tal web­site.

Be­sides, be­ing a safety haz­ard, such walk­ers don’t help your child’s mo­tor devel­op­ment, ei­ther. Coun­tries such as Canada have been banned these prod­ucts, ST’s ar­ti­cle adds.

Once your kid is older, al­ways keep a close watch when she rides a skate scooter, tri­cy­cle or rideon toy, so she doesn’t ac­ci­den­tally slip and fall off it.

Keep ride-on toys away from stairs, swim­ming pools and other po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ar­eas, too.

EYE IN­JURIES

Wield­ing a hand­held lightsaber as­so­ci­ated with the Star Wars movies may bring out the kid in you, but in the hands of a young child, it’s one of the most com­mon po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous toys. The same ap­plies to spin­ning tops that project laser beams.

Dr Jan­ice Lam, from the NUH Eye Surgery Cen­tre, tells ST: “When

Be­sides, be­ing a safety haz­ard, such walk­ers don’t help your child’s mo­tor devel­op­ment.

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