The study examined dates from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The system gathers data on defective products, including children’s toys, and the injuries those products cause.
Researchers found that the number of toy-related injuries that sent children to hospital emergency rooms in 1990 was 121,249, or about 18.9 injuries per 10,000 children. In 2011, both numbers had jumped, to 195,363 hospital visits or about 26.4 injuries per 10,000 children.
Although 98 percent of children were examined by doctors, treated, and sent home without being admitted to the hospital, injuries included broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Children under age 5 made up just more than half of those who were seen for serious injuries, and 2-year-olds were the age group most likely to be injured.
Children were also more likely to be injured in the spring and summer months, rather than in the fall and winter. One reason researchers gave for this increase was the increase in the number of children injured by foot-powered scooters, which became popular in the mid- to late 2000s. The number of injuries involving these scooters increased 74 percent over the time period, according to researchers. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if children had been wearing helmets.