With the holidays right around the corner, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds consumers to keep safety at the top of your mind this holiday season. Many injuries and deaths associated with celebrating the holidays can be prevented, so consumers are urged to put safety in practice while purchasing toys for children, cooking that holiday feast or decorating your home.
A new report released today by CPSC found that in 2021 there were more than 152,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries to children younger than 15 years of age, including two deaths. The fatalities involved choking on a small part of a toy and suffocating on a soft toy in an unsafe sleep environment. Frequently, these injuries involved lacerations and contusions, and abrasions to the child’s face and head. Importantly, many of the incidents were associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy. For children younger than 15 years old, non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries. Males accounted for 58 percent of all of the injuries.
“Protecting children from hazardous toys and other products is core to CPSC’s mission,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “We are committed to doing our part to ensure, through vigorous inspections and enforcement, that hazardous products don’t make it to store shelves or consumers’ homes; but we also want to arm families with important safety information so they can shop safely for toys and gifts and avoid trips to the emergency department during the holidays.”
CPSC, in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has seized nearly 2 million dangerous or illegal toys and children’s products this year. Of those, nearly 300,000 toy seizures were lead related. Over the past five years, CPSC and CBP have prevented or stopped more than 6 million units of toys and children’s products from entering the United States due to safety concerns or the failure to meet federal safety standards.
CPSC urges families to stay safe this holiday season by following these tips for toys, cooking and decorating:
- Follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging and choose toys that match each child’s interests and abilities.
- Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys–and make sure that children use them every time.
- Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3, and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
- Once the gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous playthings.
As consumers prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays throughout the month of December, CPSC is reminding the public of these cooking and decorating safety tips:
Preparing and cooking turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner to share with family and friends is an annual tradition. Unfortunately, distractions can pose a risk and result in residential fires. Remember that a cooking fire is more likely to occur during the holidays. In fact, Thanksgiving Day is when most of the home cooking fires occur in the U.S.
- Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
- Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home. Never use turkey fryers in the garage or on the porch.
Cooking fires remain the #1 cause of residential fires. CPSC data show that there are about 360,300 home fires per year, leading to nearly 2,400 deaths and about 10,900 injuries each year. Of these, an estimated 165,600 are cooking fires, leading to an estimated 200 deaths and 3,200 injuries annually.
An average of 1,600 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year, more than three times the average number of daily cooking fires throughout the year.
Turkey fryers create particular risks. Since 2000, CPSC is aware of 217 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers, resulting in 83 injuries and $9.5 million in property loss.
Putting up holiday lights and decorations around the home and fireplace are common customs for many families. However, dry Christmas trees, burning candles, and busted holiday lights can lead to dangerous and even deadly fires.
- Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water, and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree.
- Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow them out before leaving the room.
- Never string together more than three sets of incandescent lights, and never overload electrical outlets.
Visit CPSC’s Holiday Safety Information Center for more holiday safety tips.