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West Virginia Poison Control Center warns of toy safety ahead of holidays

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 11:06 PM EST
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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As the Christmas holiday is just days away, the West Virginia Poison Control Center is urging gift buyers to be aware of certain toys that may pose dangers for certain kids.

“When it comes to poisons and toys, there are lots of poisoning exposures that can happen with regards to toys. One of the big ones are button batteries, they can also be called disc or coin batteries,” Carissa McBurney, with the West Virginia Poison Control Center, said. “They’re the little silver round batteries that often look like, to some kids, candy, or something that can easily fit in their mouth that come in a lot of toys.”

McBurney said one thing to look out for in toys is a secured battery compartment that requires a screw to open. She said if a child does swallow a button battery, that could result in severe injury or even death.

“Even non-toys can have those button batteries, the little candles that are button battery operated or even musical greeting cards and a lot of times those don’t have secured compartments,” she said. “So you want to make sure that kids aren’t getting ahold of those and sticking those into their mouth.”

The poison expert also warned of choking hazard risks, as the center takes calls in regards to those situations as well. Small, powerful magnets can cause damage to the esophagus or stomach if more than one is swallowed.

“One of the big things to look out for, in regards to kids choking, is making sure you are only getting items in the child’s recommended age range.”

The WVPCC says some vintage toys may contain lead, which should be kept out of reach of small children.

For items like art supplies, chemistry or science kits, the center urges parents or guardians to keep the ingredient lists in the event of a poison emergency. McBurney said the first thing the center will ask when called about a poison emergency, is the ingredients listed in the products.

“We get calls year-round on certain toys, especially kids playing with slime, or Play-Doh or chemistry sets or art supplies, any of those that kids may drink or eat,” McBurney told WSAZ. “But of course, during the holiday season, there is an increase of kids getting toys, so therefore, there’s an increase in calls. After the holidays, we do usually see an increase in button batteries or those magnets, I previously mentioned.”

Doctors, nurses or pharmacists are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round for anyone who may have a poison emergency.

“There are tons of toys that are out there. The best thing to do is check out recall lists. There are recall lists all over the internet, and you can just double check if you have any concerns,” McBurney said.

If you need to speak with the center you can call them at 800-222-1222 or visit their website by tapping here.

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