ER Doc’s Warning: Christmas Toy Risks

When selecting toys for children, the primary consideration is often fun, but safety is equally crucial. Emergency room physicians are increasingly warning against certain toys that can lead to injuries, and a viral TikTok video featuring Dr. Meghan Martin, a pediatric emergency medicine physician, emphasized the potential dangers. Toy-related injuries resulted in approximately 145,500 emergency room visits for children aged 12 and younger in 2022, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Water Beads

Colorful water beads, popular sensory toys that expand when immersed in water, pose risks, especially for young children. Emergency room doctors caution against children putting these beads in their ears, nostrils, or mouths. If swallowed, the beads can cause blockages and life-threatening injuries, necessitating surgery for removal.

Toys with Magnets and Button Batteries

Toys equipped with magnets or button batteries can be choking hazards, with potential for severe internal damage or even death if swallowed. Swallowing batteries can lead to decreased blood supply and tissue necrosis, while button batteries can cause burns when in contact with bodily fluids. The esophagus is particularly vulnerable, as batteries may get stuck, leading to serious complications.

Electric Scooters and Hoverboards

Emergency room doctors advise against purchasing electric scooters and hoverboards for children due to their high speeds, which can result in broken bones. Nonmotorized scooters are considered a safer alternative, but it’s essential to provide safety gear, including helmets and appropriate padding, to minimize injuries.


Despite their popularity, trampolines are a common cause of various injuries. Collisions between jumping children, falling on springs or frames, attempting risky stunts, or bouncing with a significant size difference can result in injuries ranging from sprained ankles to fractures. In-ground trampolines or nets may reduce the risk of falling off, but they do not eliminate all potential dangers.

Rocket Launchers and Projectiles

Toys that shoot projectiles, such as rocket launchers, toy guns, or slingshots, can cause eye injuries if the toy unexpectedly discharges during play. Emergency room physicians strongly discourage buying toys that shoot small pieces, emphasizing the potential for severe close-range injuries to a child’s eyes.

Winding it up

While shopping for toys, parents must be aware of potential risks and make informed decisions to ensure the safety of their children. By avoiding certain toys with known hazards, parents can contribute to preventing toy-related injuries and emergencies during the holiday season and beyond.


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