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RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids NC Chair Mike Causey urges parents and caregivers to keep children safe this holiday season by following toy safety tips recommended by Safe Kids North Carolina.

Safe Kids North Carolina stated that toy safety is particularly important this year as many parents will be looking to find holiday gifts to keep their children and themselves entertained due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s no greater joy than watching children open gifts and play with their toys during the holiday season, but it’s very important to have a safe play environment with safe toys,” Causey said in a statement. “Make sure to choose age-appropriate toys and always supervise children while they’re playing.”

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, approximately 217,000 children are treated at hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries each year. Most toy-related injuries do not require hospitalization (97 percent); however, in 2005, 20 children died due to toy-related injuries.

Riding toys, such as tricycles and non-powered scooters, are the leading cause of toy-related injuries.

Toy-related injuries can be prevented by following these safety tips:

• Be sure children play with toys that are age-appropriate. Read the warning labels before buying toys for children.

• Keep devices with coin-sized button batteries out of sight and out of reach. These batteries are a choking hazard when swallowed by children. Keep loose or spare batteries locked away.

• Look for well-made toys. Check toys regularly for damage that could create hazards. Repair or discard damaged toys immediately.

• Make sure that discarded toys are out of children’s reach.

• Supervise children while they play. Be aware of potential dangers like small parts, cords and strings, moving parts, electrical or battery-powered cords or wheels.

• Do not allow riding toys near stairs, traffic or swimming pools.

• Teach children to put toys away after playing. Toys intended for younger children should be stored separately from those suitable for older children.

• Make sure toy chests are open with no lid or have safety hinges.

For more information, visit www.safekidsnc.org. Safe Kids North Carolina is a division within the N.C. Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal. For more information, contact Safe Kids NC Director Shannon Bullock at shannon.bullock@ncdoi.gov.

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