‘Tis the season for gift-giving. People spend time carefully choosing the perfect gift for their family and friends, excited to see their faces when they open them. Sometimes those well-intentioned gifts cause serious injuries to loved ones. No one wants to spend their holiday in the emergency room, but that is exactly what can happen under the right circumstances. Here are some of the ways holiday gifts can hurt you and how to avoid a disaster.
You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!
Anyone who has ever seen the 1980s holiday classic A Christmas Story knows exactly what those iconic words mean. While it was amusing to watch a fictional Ralphie find out the hard way that his coveted Christmas gift was an accident waiting to happen, such happenstances are not so funny when they happen in real life.
If you buy a loved one a Red Ryder BB gun or any other type of air-powered gun like Ralphie had in that movie, make sure they understand the dangers associated with their gift. Air weapons have evolved since the 1980s, making their penetration power like that of conventional handguns. They can cause serious injuries and should never be given to anyone too irresponsible to handle them safely.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said 71 percent of air gun injuries were unintentional and caused an average 3-day hospital stay for injured parties. Of those, at least 66 percent caused permanent injuries. Some of the most common ways air guns and other pellet guns can injure users include:
- Eye injuries can cause permanent partial vision loss or blindness. They most frequently happen when air guns backfire and hit the user in the eye. ‘
- Skin lacerations and punctures are another common injury with these types of guns. Pellets and BBs can travel at speeds exceeding 200 mph and become embedded in the skin.
- Bacterial Infections in areas of the body hit by BBs and pellets, especially when the skin is lacerated.
Removing secure packaging
A surprising number of people injure themselves each year not with the gifts they receive, but with their packaging. Dubbed “wrap rage” by industry experts, it happens when someone has difficulty removing poorly-packaged or overly secure product packaging. To cut down on waste and make products harder to tamper with on the shelves, many manufacturers have optimized their product packaging designs.
It is not the packaging itself that causes the injuries. Rather, it is what people do out of desperation trying to get them open. One of the most popular solutions is to grab boxcutters, a knife, scissors, or another sharp tool to pry the product free. What often ends up happening is an injury that requires a trip to the emergency room for stitches. If you are unlucky enough to sever tendons or ligaments with that sharp object, you might need surgery to repair the damage.
Frustration-free packaging can help prevent these kinds of injuries. If you bought or received a gift that sent you into a fit of wrap rage this holiday season, consider reaching out to the product manufacturer with feedback about your frustrations. If they care about customer satisfaction, they may work with a product packaging engineer to improve the unpackaging experience.
Choking on toys
Choking on toys has been a risk for as long as children’s toys have existed. Extra vigilance at the holidays is necessary since children receive numerous gifts from well-meaning family and friends who may not realize they have purchased something dangerous. Parents and other adults who buy gifts for little ones should follow product age recommendations to help reduce the risk. Some other guidelines to keep in mind to help keep children safe from choking this holiday season:
- Check all toys for loose parts or components that can easily break off and end up in a child’s mouth.
- Read warning labels and pay particular attention to any instructions about choking hazards and how to avoid them.
- Keep toys that can be a choking hazard away from younger siblings. This can include games with coins, marbles, and small balls.
Don’t be afraid to say no to holiday gifts that can hurt you
Never be afraid to say no to a gift request if you know it will pose a danger to the recipient. The same holds true for gifts you or your family members receive from others. If you do get injured by a faulty product, you have recourse. Reach out to us to learn how we can help.