Making a list and checking it twice … for dangerous holiday presents
From guns to skateboards, the gifts to be concerned about this year
You may want to double check your child’s wish list to Santa to have a safe holiday season.
Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department at Cook Children’s, knows that guns will be a popular gift this holiday season for not only children, but for adults too.
According to the journal Injury Prevention more than one-third of American adults own a gun. Last year, Cook Children’s saw 10 total injuries related to shootings of a gun (ranging from a BB to rifle). Since 2009, Cook Children’s has seen 104 shootings and three deaths.
Dr. Warmink asks parents to explain to children that BB guns can be dangerous, with harm ranging from severe eye damage to liver and kidney injuries.
Dr. Warmink says it’s important that parents educate their children about gun safety and make sure kids know to leave the area if another child, or someone other than their parent, has a gun.
“We live in Texas and I know many kids are raised hunting and have guns in the home,” Dr. Warmink said. “But if you give your child a gun for the holidays or if the adult in the house is given a gun, it’s important to take the proper precautions. The thing we want parents to remember is to keep guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition”
1. Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
2. Unload your gun. Take all ammunition out of the firearm.
3. Store the keys for the gun in a cabinet or safe different from your household keys. Keep the keys out of the reach of children.
Along with guns and replica firearms, such as airsoft guns that use hydraulics to shoot pellets, Dr. Warmink lists these gifts as dangerous and even life threatening:
- Ripstik Casterboard, Skateboards, roller skates …
- Pull toys with strings over 12 inches
- Backyard playground equipment
- Hard plastic swords
Sharon Evans, Trauma/Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s, knows that owning a bike or scooter is part of growing up. But she encourages parents to take the proper precautions before placing wheeled gifts under the tree.
“Parents, please don’t forget a helmet for all riding toys,” Evans said. “Make sure the helmet is on properly and read the instructions.”
For younger children, Dana Walraven, manager of Community Health Outreach at Cook Children's and coordinator of the Safe Kids Tarrant County Coalition, warns parents to be aware of any small parts or potential choking hazards from their own toys or perhaps older siblings.
“The holidays can be an especially dangerous time for the little ones,” Walraven said. “Pick out toys and activities that will be appropriate for their age. On Christmas, designate an adult to supervise the children. It’s surprisingly easy to lose track of small children and with just a little planning we can keep choking hazards away from them. When it comes to young children, preparation is key.”