Green Bay doctor warns parents about dangers of small toy parts

Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 5:44 PM CST
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Parents shopping for toys this holiday season are warned of toy-related injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says 240,000 were treated in emergency rooms last year with toy-related injuries. Seven of those kids died, all under the age of 12.

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler tweeted pictures of his daughter on Friday. Fowler’s daughter, Naya needed a doctor's visit because of a small toy stuck in her ear.

Aurora BayCare Emergency and EMS Physician Steve Stroman sees dozens of kids that swallow or get small toy parts stuck in their mouth, nose and ears.

"Our concern is what might go in the nose or the mouth might go further, it could get trapped in the stomach and not go through, we are very concerned with things like the small batteries that these toys have, the button batteries that you see," said Dr. Stroman.

Lithium button batteries can be found in toys including fidget spinners. When a lithium button battery gets stuck in a child's throat it reacts with the saliva to create what's called caustic soda -- which is one of the chemicals used to unclog drains.

"Batteries in the stomach could lead to some erosion or bleeding or problems that would require a hospitalization or surgery," Dr. Stroman says.

Greg Bates is father to a curious toddler, two-year-old Bailey. Bates has a technique to keep small parts away from Bailey before allowing her to play with the toy.

"So we make sure everything is out of reach. If little parts come with the toy, like doll accessories, we put them in a bag and store them up high, and batteries for items we put them up just so they're out of reach," Bates said.

Dr. Stroman suggests buying kids only age-appropriate toys approved by trusted consumer organizations.

"Her mother and I will walk down the aisle and kind of look, to see if it's appropriate age for something Bailey would use, kind of avoid things that may be small, some bigger things that she doesn't you know maybe stick in her mouth, put in her ears or what not," said Bates.