"Safe & Sound" program warns parents of toy danger
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Choking hazards are nothing new in toys. But, there are some toys that are not as safe as you may think.
Smaller batteries are becoming a new risk.
Doctors at Erlanger with the "Safe and Sound" program want parents to be wise when it comes to toy selection.
They say the number of choking cases are on the rise and involve small, coin-shaped lithium batteries.
As the toy list grows for that child in your life, doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital want safety to be at the top of the list.
"Toy safety is important because over half of the toys are purchased between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas," says pediatric nurse, Cindy Jackson.
Jackson is a part of the Safe and Sound program.
She is on a mission to spread the word about the dangers of choking, especially on those coin sized batteries.
"It gets stuck and it pushes against the tissue. And it will cause a chemical reaction that will cause a burning. And it can actually burn through their esophagus, in about two hours, which will cause major damage," says Jackson.
The injury could take several surgeries to fix.
The latest figures show the number of cases where children have been seriously hurt, or even died from swallowing batteries, quadrupled between 2006 and 2010.
In 2010 alone, more than 3,400 cases were reported in the U.S.
More often than not, a majority of those batteries came from remotes like this one.
Dr. Andrea Goins is a pediatrician and has a three-year-old of her own.
"He sticks things in his mouth all the time, but with mommy as a pediatrician, he knows he better spit it out very quickly," says Dr. Goins.
The best advice she has for parents: keep an eye on your kids at all times.
"Especially if you have more than one child, it's easy for a smaller child to get a hold of pieces of an older child's game, Legos, puzzle pieces, things like that. So they actually need to be watched at all times," says Goins.
"We want them to be home and safe and not have to be here at the hospital," says Jackson.
Thankfully, doctors at Erlanger say they have not seen any serious cases in Chattanooga involving the batteries.
They say a good rule of thumb for a child under three: any small object that will fit through a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard for your child.