It turns out that no matter how safe we make our homes, our cars, and the food that our little ones eat, our kids are going to get hurt from time to time and, according to a study just released by Clinical Pediatrics, our children are getting hurt by their toys at an ever-increasing rate.

The study analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System that collects data from the nation’s emergency rooms to determine the annual toy-related injury rate per 10,000 children aged between one and 17 between from the years 1990 to 2011. The study calculated that the toy-related injury rate increased from just under 19 in 1990 to more than 26 in 2011, a 37 percent increase.

The data also showed that children of different ages suffered from toy-related injuries at different rates with, a surprise to no one, two year olds being injured the most frequently. More than half of those injured were five or younger. Moreover, boys made up 63 percent of the injured, while, perhaps shocking to many of us, more than eight out of every ten injuries took place in the child’s home.

The most dangerous toys were those that children ride with that type of toy accounting for nearly 35 percent of the toy-related injuries and, even worse, more than 40 percent of all of the injuries that required hospital admission.

The overall numbers are rather staggering. In the 21 years reviewed, 3.2 million kids went to the emergency room with a toy-related injury. However, children advocates say that the true numbers are even more staggering. Speaking about the study, Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead researcher and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said, “We know that’s an underestimate. We know that those numbers are increasing. So it’s a call to action. We really do have a lot more work to do to provide safe toys for children.”  

How You Can Protect Your Child from His Toys

The good news is that there is much we can do to keep our children safe with their toys. First off, we should only let our children play with toys that have been rated for their age. Just taking this one step will go a long ways towards protecting children from crashing ride-on toys and choking on small pieces.

The next step is to know what your children are playing with which means that you need to keep an eye on your children when they are playing so that they do not get ahold of something they shouldn’t. Remember that 80 percent of the toy-related injuries occurred in the home, which means that your home is not the place to let your guard down.

Also, make sure you assemble toys as directed by their instructions. This will keep all of its pieces in place. And finally, check the recall lists found at the website at the beginning of each month and return anything that has been recalled.