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Good Choices Can Keep Holidays Safer

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RALEIGH — The toys your children get this holiday season may be hazardous to their health. Taking a few simple steps can keep play time fun and the holidays happier.

North Carolina Product Information Research Group(NC PIRG) came out with their annual list ofpotentially dangerous toys.

Colin Waite with NC PIRG says anything smaller than 1 3/4" is a choking hazard. He says countless toys are sold without required warnings.

More than 152,000 people visited North Carolina emergency rooms last year with toy-related injuries. At WakeMed, two-thirds of those injuries were attributed to bicycles and the foot-powered scooter.

Raleigh is the latest city to join several Triangle-area municipalities requiring bike helmets for anyone under 16 riding bikes, scooters, skates or skateboards.

The National Association of State PIRGs has a list of tips that consumers should think about before purchasing toys.
  • Be vigilant.Examine the toys for potential hazards.
  • If a toy looks unsafe, do not buy it.If you see small parts or a small ball or a balloon and do not see a choke-hazard warning, call theU.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)at 1-800-638-2772 or 1-800-638-8270.
  • Keep small parts away from your toddlers, particularly if an older child has toys with small parts.Safety starts with reading the labels, says Dr. Karen Frush with Duke Children's Hospital.
  • "Sometimes, it's kind of a pain. Sometimes, the print is small, but sometimes that will alert us to things to make us decide to choose something else," she says.