In 2015, there were an estimated 185,500 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Likewise, holiday decorations cause 860 home fires each year with an additional 210 home fires are caused by Christmas trees per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
EHS Today has gathered the latest recommendations that will ensure your home and family are safe for the holidays.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) have released precautionary measures and steps the public can take to make sure the winter season is safe. According to the NFPA, 30 percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February. Candles cause two out every five home decoration fires, and half of decoration fires happen because items are placed too close to a heat source. Holiday decoration and Christmas tree fires, in particular, substantially are more damaging than other fires. These fires result in twice the injuries and five times the fatalities per fire as the average winter holiday home fire, according to ESFI.
To prevent fires caused by electrical wiring or cords, the ESFI reminds consumers to inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using and to make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations are marked for proper use.
About 2,314 individuals reported battery ingestion between July 2014 and June 2016. Of those reported cases, 33 were reported to have major or fatal effects. Battery ingestion typically occurs in individuals younger than 6 years and individuals over 60 years old. The majority of batteries ingested are lithium coin batteries, which typically are loose or discarded, removed from packaging or mistaken for medication at the time of consumption. Household items that can pose a danger and are most reported to be issues with loose batteries include games and toys, watches, flameless candles, scales, remote controls, key fobs, lights and hearing aids, according to Panasonic.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) team up each year to stop shipments of defective toys from overseas as well as train manufacturers about safety requirements. Stopped shipments have included lead, small parts, sharp points and labeling requirement violations, according to the CPSC. The organization indicates that there were an estimated 185,500 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 11 deaths in 2015 to children younger than 15 years old.
Air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers and sports equipment top the list of toys that are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is cautioning the public about doing research for all toys when purchasing gifts to reduce the number of eye injuries during this holiday season. Items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and other nonpowder gun–related foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.