All-terrain vehicles, slingshots and backyard water slides are among the most dangerous toys for kids during summer 2018, according to a new report from World Against Toys Causing Harm, or (WATCH).
The consumer watchdog group released its report of 10 top “summer safety traps” on the first day of summer, as more children start to get out and enjoy the summer season.
Nearly half of all child injury deaths happen in the summer months, and hospital emergency departments treat about 2.5 million children injured in accidents, WATCH reports.
WATCH’s Top 10 Summer Safety Traps for 2018
1. Water balloon slingshots: Slingshots can shoot ammunition with great force, with the potential for projectile eye and face injuries.
The Black Series Outdoor Slingshot Target Game warns, “This is a potentially powerful slingshot, please use caution at all times.”
The Bunch O Balloons Slingshot is marketed with the capability to “launch water balloons up to 150 feet” and boasts that you can fill “hundreds of balloons in minutes.”
Balloons are a well-known choking hazard among small kids. WATCH reports that between 2014-2016, five children under age 12 died from choking on a balloon or balloon string.
WATCH also notes that some slingshot toys have inconsistent or confusing marketing -- some products say that it is “not a toy,” while marketing it as a “great game for teenagers and adults.”
2. Lawn darts: Lawn darts used in outdoor games could lead to blunt head force injuries because they are intended to be thrown, WATCH reports.
While pointed lawn darts have been banned in the U.S. since 1988, modified versions of lawn darts with blunt, weighted bottoms are growing in popularity.
3. Low-riding wheeled toys (Big Wheels and other plastic tricycles): Big wheels and plastic tricycles that sit low to the ground are dangerous because motorists cannot see them in driveways, or near roads.
These toys are especially dangerous near pools, and several children have died after falling from a riding toy into a pool.
Adding a tall flag to a low-profile riding toy can help make them more visible to drivers.
4. Backyard in-ground and above-ground pools: Every day, 10 people die in the United States due to accidental drowning.
Sixty-six children under 15 years old drown in above-ground pools every year. In 2015, 347 children under the age of 15 drowned in a pool or spa.
Experts say it’s important to check water safety measures at home every season and remove pools from the yard when not in use.
Young children are especially at risk when attempting to scale a ladder to get into an above-ground pool.
Safety advocates warn to never leave children unattended around water.
5. All-terrain vehicles: Safety advocates warn that children should not be allowed to operate an all-terrain vehicle at any time, and families should think carefully before letting a child ride as a passenger.
ATVs are at high risk of flipping over. Those who survive often suffer from devastating head, chest and internal trauma.
Children lack the coordination, reflexes and judgment to avoid crashing ATVs and other motorized vehicles, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports.
Every year, about 650 people are killed and 100,000 are hurt in ATV accidents.
Nearly one-third of deadly ATV accidents from 2010 to 2013 involved ATVs being ridden on paved roads or parking lots.
6. Toys with small parts: Toys with detaching parts can be a choking hazard for small children. While they are a year-round concern, child safety advocates said there have been a number of recent recalls for these types of dangerous toys.
In 2017, nearly 2 million toys with small parts were pulled from store shelves in the U.S. and Canada over safety concerns.
My First Porsche - Wooden Car was recalled in May because the wheels could detach and create a choking hazard.
Every three minutes, a child is hurt by a toy.
Experts say to check toys for slender parts, pieces that can break off and soft material that could be swallowed and block a young child’s airway.
7. Shallow water: Baby pools, garden buckets, pool covers: Shallow bodies of water in backyards are one of the most overlooked water hazards for kids, experts say.
Gaps in pool covers or ones that can sag and collect water create a greater drowning risk.
Baby pools are dangerous because they are often left filled with water unattended, without barriers to prevent children from getting in unsupervised.
Water in other containers, like buckets or fountains, might not look dangerous but can be deadly -- because a child can drown in only 2 inches of water.
According to a 2018 CPSC report, most drowning incidents among children under 5 years old happen at home.
Experts say it is important to empty pools after each use and turn them upside down so they cannot collect rainwater.
8. Backyard water slides: Teens are at risk of neck injuries and paralysis if they play on backyard water slides intended for small children.
Adults and teens who dive on to Slip ‘N Slide-type water slides could abruptly stop in such a way that it could cause permanent spine injury.
The Little Tikes Wet and Dry First Slide pictured above contains warnings including “This product is not intended for anyone over 60 LBS” and “Because of their size, older children and adults risk spine, head, neck and other life-threatening injuries from using this slide.”
9. High-powered water guns and guns with projectile ammunition: Water guns, bows and arrows or any other toys that “take aim” at another person can cause serious injuries.
Projectile ammunition, even foam darts and water streams, can lead to serious eye injuries.
The Air Warriors Thermal Hunter is sold for ages 6 and up, with four darts, marketed to “blast up to 90 feet.”
Eye injuries to children from non-powder guns, such as airsoft and pellet guns, increased exponentially by more than 500 percent between 2010 and 2012.
45 percent of the estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries in 2016 (107,400), occurred to the head and face area.
10. Bounce houses and backyard trampolines: Colorful, inflatable bounce houses are a birthday party staple, but there have been several reports of bounce houses falling over, or being blown away.
In April, 5 children in South Carolina went to the hospital with injuries after a bounce house became airborne.
From 2003 to 2013, inflatable bounce houses were responsible for approximately over 100,000 injuries and 12 reported deaths.
Backyard trampolines have been associated with catastrophic injuries, including fractures, cervical spine injuries and paralysis.
About 100,000 injuries involving trampolines are reported every year, and there were 22 trampoline deaths between 2000 and 2009, WATCH reports. One in every 200 of these injuries result in permanent neurological damage.
Most trampoline injuries happen at private homes.
Netting, padding and adult supervision have not prevented trampoline injuries and may provide a false sense of security, experts say.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.