Toy injuries were responsible for 22 deaths and 220,500 emergency room visits in 2006, according to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The report looked at injuries affecting children under 15 and found that most deaths were caused by asphyxiation or collisions associated with riding toys, scooters, toy pegs, and rubber balls.
Consumer Reports analyzed the full CPSC report:
- Non-motorized scooters: Three deaths occurred when children either hit or were hit by an automobile. The children ranged in age from six to 13 years.
- Toy nails and pegs: Three children died when they choked on or aspirated plastic nails or pegs. One 19-month-old boy died after choking on an oversized plastic nail from a toy workbench. A second boy, 2, died when he fell while running with a toy nail; the nail got wedged in the back of his throat. Another two-year-old suddenly started coughing and stopped breathing. He died at the hospital where an autopsy showed a plastic peg from a toy had become lodged in his left bronchus.
- Rubber balls: Three children died when they either aspirated or choked on small rubber balls. Two of the children who choked on small rubber balls were about one year old while the third child was an autistic eight-year-old who aspirated a rubber ball.
- Powered riding toys: There were three fatalities. A boy, 3, was riding a battery-powered toy four-wheeler unsupervised and fell into a pond. A girl, 2, was riding her battery-powered toy truck as her family walked along on a sidewalk; a speeding car hit and killed her. A 6-year-old died when the cape of his costume became entangled in the axle of the gasoline-powered ATV he was riding and strangled him.
- Tricycles: There were two fatalities. In separate incidents, a three-year-old female and a three-year-old male fell into the family in-ground swimming pool while riding a tricycle and drowned.
- Stuffed toys: There were two deaths associated with stuffed toys . A six-month-old fell off the parents’ bed into a pile of stuffed animals and suffocated A three-month-old fell off a bed into a container of stuffed toys and suffocated.
- Other balls: There were two deaths from unspecified types of balls. One struck a girl, 10, while she was playing at school; she died of inter-cerebral hemorrhage. A 17-month-old was run over when he followed the ball with which he was playing as it rolled behind a truck.
- Balloons: A nine-month-old female died of upper airway obstruction caused by an uninflated balloon.
- Rubber darts: A 10-year-old boy died from aspirating a rubber dart. He had been chewing on a toy gun dart when he had trouble breathing and collapsed. At the ER, he was found to have a rubber dart in his right lung.
- Toy organizer: A nine-month-old, found underneath a wooden toy organizer, died of neck compression.
- Unspecified: A seven-year-old boy was chewing on a plastic toy when a small part of the toy broke off and became lodged in his throat. He died of asphyxia.
The CPSC cautions that toys were associated with these incidents, but not necessarily their cause.
Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries, Calendar Year 2006 (pdf) [CPSC]
CPSC: 22 children died in toy-related deaths in 2006 [Consumer Reports]