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Doctor's Viral Video Reveals Top 5 Gifts That Land Kids in the ER

Pediatrician Meghan Martin shares why parents should steer clear of several popular toys this holiday season, from traditional culprits like trampolines to newer hazards like water beads.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published December 13, 2023
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Image: Tomsickova Tatyana | Shutterstock

The holiday season is here, and while it ushers in togetherness, joy and magic, it also brings with it a slew of not-so-fun emergencies. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 6,000 people each year end up in emergency rooms (ER) because of holiday products or activities.

From the errant Lego stuck up your toddler’s nose to a broken arm from that new bike, holiday injuries are bound to happen, but you can help keep your child as safe as possible by making a few different shopping decisions.

Meghan Martin— a Florida pediatric ER doctor also known as @Beachgem10 on TikTok —recently took to the platform to warn parents about seemingly innocuous gifts that can pose a pretty big risk to kids.

First up on her list, at number five—anything with button batteries. Button batteries when swallowed, pose a deadly risk to kids, as the acid in the battery can quickly burn through inner muscles and tissues. Hundreds of kids have found their way to the ER because of button batteries, with many facing life-threatening complications.

While recent legislation, including Reese’s Law, has focused on making items with button batteries safer, there’s still a load of problems these products present, especially those that haven’t caught up with newer safety regulations. “They keep those little compartments closed with those little cheap screws. It’s not worth it. They can literally kill kids, and they do every year,” Martin notes.

Next up on the list, at number four, is water beads. The resurgence of water beads as “sensory toys” has also led to a resurgence in cautionary headlines similar to button batteries. These brightly colored, squishy beads are tempting to little kids who can “ingest them when they are small, and then they can get larger and cause bowel obstructions,” according to Martin. As New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. works on a nationwide law banning water beads, Martin warns that parents shouldn’t “mess with these with little kids.”

Items number three and two are those seen more commonly associated with ER injuries. Martin points to electric scooters (which the CPSC reports sent the most kids to the ER last year) as the cause of face, arm and head injuries after “kids get going way too fast on” scooters and hit a bump. Along with electric scooters, hoverboards also pose some of the same issues, plus “they can literally light your house on fire,” Martin adds.

But the most dangerous gift, after all? One that takes the top spot year after year—trampolines. “I detest trampolines. They literally keep the emergency department and the orthopedics team in business,” they note. And for those parents who think their trampoline setup is safer, Martin has some bad news for you. It’s not. “It doesn’t matter if you have a net. It doesn’t matter if it’s buried in the ground. Most of the injuries actually happen on the trampoline,” they note.

In a follow-up to her original video, Martin also added three more runner-up items to the list in another post. The other risky items? 1. Small magnets, 2. Golf carts and ATVs, 3. Skateboards, Heelys, rollerblades, or other wheels-on shoe items.

So next time you are shopping keep these five simple criteria in mind to keep your child as safe as possible this holiday season.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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