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Pandemic downtime leads to rise in toy injuries

With more time at home from COVID, emergency rooms are seeing more visits from kids injured by toy and fitness equipment

CLEVELAND — Despite a world on lockdown for more than a year, it's been fun and games for some kids. Outdoor toy sales jumped 16 percent last year, including pools and playground equipment.

"We're seeing huge growth in these classic categories like skateboards and scooters, and backyard fun," said James Zach, senior editor of The Toy Insider.

But if 2020 is any indication, with the weather getting warmer we can expect the number of kids getting hurt to grow as well. 

"When it comes to skateboards, scooters and hoverboards, the number of injuries treated in emergency rooms is up 39 percent," said Joseph Martyak with the Consumer Product Safety Commission

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Motorized toys are all the rage, but many can go up to 20 miles per hour, making safety gear is a must. 

That means a helmet that fits properly and has a sticker showing it complies with the CPSC standards.

"And stay out of the street when that's possible, because this is where we see the biggest serious injuries," Martyak said.

Injuries from ingesting batteries are also up more than 93 percent las year among five-to-nine-year-olds. The biggest increase though came from fireworks, flares and even sparklers, which are more dangerous than they may seem, "because sparklers burn at the temperature of a blowtorch and you wouldn't hand your child a blowtorch," Martyak said.

But adult toys have proven to be just as dangerous. When COVID closed gyms, many bought treadmills and stationary bikes. In fact, the revenue for Peloton increased 128 percent last year. But it came as a price.

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The CPSC reports that a three-year-old suffered a "significant brain injury" after getting trapped under a Peloton treadmill last month. The company says the child is expected to fully recover. 

But another child died after an accident involving the companies Peloton Tread+ treadmill. Without offering details about the incident, CEO John Foley told customers to review and follow all safety warnings and instructions, and keep all children and pets away from its equipment at all times. Remove the safety key from the treadmill and store it out of reach of children.

But it isn't just Peloton treadmills causing accidents. More than 2,000 children under the age of eight were injured from treadmills in 2019. A reminder that more exercise and less screen time are only helpful if safety comes first.

Editors Note: The video in the player below previously aired in March 2021.