22 Children Died Toy-Related Deaths In 2006

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]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. SaraAB87 says:

    Sounds like most of these accidents were caused by lack of parental supervision rather than dangerous toys. Any toy or riding vehicle can be dangerous when children are not properly supervised.

  2. LilKoko says:

    Heartbreakingly sad. :(

  3. timmus says:

    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.

    This is operator error, not a product defect. I don’t understand why this is even in the list.

  4. LilKoko says:

    @Timmus: It is a bit confusing.

    First sentence, “Toy injuries were responsible for . . . .” Last sentence, “The CPSC cautions that toys were associated with these incidents, but not necessarily their cause.”

    I think the article refers to any incident in which a toy was in some way involved.

  5. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    That article seems like a good warning for parents to supervise their children closely. No matter how safe a toy is or appears to be, it can become deadly under the right circumstances.

  6. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Obesity is a far more widespread threat to kids than faulty toys.

  7. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: In most of the incidents, the toys weren’t even faulty. Most of these just seem to be toy-related accidents that were in fact just accidents of circumstance.

  8. madanthony says:

    So of the twenty-two deaths from toys, 5 were actually caused by getting hit by a car, and three were caused by drownings.

    Most of the rest sound like kids playing with toys that probably were designed for older kids- one year olds shouldn’t be playing with anything that they can swallow.

    If anything, this list suggests toys are actually pretty safe.

  9. czarandy says:

    Twice as many people died last year from lightning.

  10. obfusciatrist says:

    22 doesn’t sound all that bad (each one an individual tragedy of course).

    And if only 1 in 1000 toy-involved accidents results in death that doesn’t sound like the injuries are, on average, all that horrible.

    How much money should be spent (by consumers, corporations, and government) to prevent those 22 deaths?

    I’m curious (and a quick scan of the CPSC PDF didn’t show the answer) if bicycles and sports equipment are considered toys. Of course, when I was growing up the pine tree in our front yard was a big toy; we’d climb up there and play a version of king of the hill where we tried to knock each other out of it. Also, trying to jump from the tree onto our roof was popular and not always successful.

    Since somehow I never actually injured myself seriously I can only assume those activities were safe.

  11. Noremakk says:

    Children die falling out trees every year, too. Do you think we should cut all of them down, just to make sure nobody falls from them?

  12. eelmonger says:

    So, in short:
    1.Watch your kids.
    2.Don’t give them toys they can swallow unless they’re old enough to know better.

  13. goodkitty says:

    @timmus: Definitely… and falling into a box of stuffed animals? Yes… those evil teddy bears claim another victim! And the boy who was strangled by his “gasoline-powered ATV”… wait, is that supposed to be a “toy?”

    I wonder how many deaths are caused directly or indirectly by parental abuse… oops, we’re not supposed to talk about that.

  14. DrGirlfriend says:

    From the looks of it, this isn’t about blaming toys, it’s about bringing attention to ways in which toys, coupled with lack of vigilance, can lead to children getting hurt. I know being vigilant is common sense, but sometimes examples like these can remind you of things to be watchful about.

  15. mconfoy says:

    When it comes to product liability, and many people out here still don’t seem to get it, whether or not its used correctly or not age appropriate, is not relevant. The toys are marketed to kids above 3 (assuming they contain small parts) and should be capable of handling what a kid might do with them based on the idea of age and responsibility. Tricycles should not topple over, and the cheap ones will, and those companies will be found liable. Mattel has been making them for over 30 years that don’t tip over. The toy organizer and chewed off toy manufacturers will probably be found liable also.

  16. nardo218 says:

    @goodkitty: I was thinking that too! Esp the stuffed animals ones, with the babies. Like, remember all those Satanic abuse allegations in the 80s? A lot of them turned out to be homicides.

  17. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Wow, thats not bad at all. The way the media and people freak out, you’d think it was a serious number.

  18. alice_bunnie says:

    A boy is riding along a sidewalk in his toy ATV and is run over by a car and it’s classified as a toy accident? Well, this does come from the same government that classifies a death from a decapitation where the person weight 300 pounds as death from obesity..

  19. azgirl says:

    Of course they missed lead poisoning- of course a kid won’t die from that….right away.. just end up mentally altered…

  20. mgyqmb says:

    thats a cute mii

  21. revmatty says:

    Wait, I’m confused! Where does China fit into this?

  22. hapless says:

    22 deaths is totally acceptable.

    What concerns me is the injuries that don’t lead to death. In the case of lead, potentially tens of thousands of cases of mild brain damage. Who will ever compensate those children for the lasting damage to their development?

  23. rg says:

    How about we round up all these death toys and offer them to nice restaurants to distribute at the front door to parents that insist on taking children there. That will definitely curb that problem!

  24. zarex42 says:

    That’s pretty amazing, considering all of the toys out there. Still 22 too many, but the ratio is excellent. Nice job toymakers!

  25. conformco says:

    You might want to clarify that the toy used in the photo to illustrate this story has not killed anyone. In fact those people are pretty awesome – makes of Ugly Dolls, etc. Wonderful products, totally rad people as well. They’ve gotten a lot of hate mail today because of this article.