Choking on Christmas (Healthy You)

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—This holiday season is going out with a bang for the brand new, high tech toys of 2019! Yet, with so many bright and action packed gadgets to choose from, parents may be overlooking the dangers associated with certain, popular toys.

Even though choking deaths among children have decreased over the years, a study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital says choking is still a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those younger than 4 years old.

An article written by Toysafety.org says, “According to the latest statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in the U.S. in 2017, and a reported 37 children died from toy-related incidents from 2015 to 2017.”

For a look at the ‘Top 10 Worst Toys of 2019’, click here.

As a mom and registered nurse in the pediatrics department at United Regional for 31 years, Sheila Marks is no stranger to seeing odd items in toddler tummies.

“We’ve had some kids that have actually ingested some things as a result of inappropriate toys and of course we’ve had to do some extractions and we’ve had to observe and watch and monitor.”

According to Marks: batteries, balloons, small toy pieces, and marbles are some of the most common items swallowed. During Christmas, one item in particular pops up on the x-ray.

“Kids swallow money, coins,” says Marks. “When you’re looking for little stocking stuffers, they have a tendency to drop money sometimes in their stockings and that can be a hazard as well.”

X-rays and waiting for the swallowed item to pass can be the proper procedure for minor cases, but there are times life-saving measures need to be taken.

“There are some things that actually happen to go down into the lungs and when that happens it can cause infectious processes, which means that they can have immediate or urgent treatment or they might have a long term stay at the hospital…”

A child’s airway is no bigger than that of a straw, so becoming CPR certified and establishing emergency protocols is critical in times like these.

“If it turns out that they have to notify 9-1-1, then they can sustain the child until 9-1-1 gets there,” says Marks. “If it’s a substance, of course contact Poison Control. If it turns out that it’s something that they’ve totally ingested, then it would be 9-1-1 because it would be considered a blockage of the airway and immediate compromise.”

To make sure your Christmas stays Merry, Marks suggests:

“Make sure you read the package labeling closely, and make that it is totally appropriate for your child. Just because your child is what you would deem emotionally ready doesn’t mean that their physically ready for the task of the toy.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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