Buying Safe Toys for Children

When buying toys for children, safety should always come first. Each year thousands of children are injured by toys. Here are some tips to learn what to look for when buying toys as well as some simple ideas about how to prevent injury.

Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. This happens when toys are dangerous or used in the wrong way.

Tips for Buying Toys

  • Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and for what ages the toy is safe.
  • Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child's mouth to prevent choking.
  • Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air.
  • Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child's hearing.
  • Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable.
  • Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
  • Buy plastic toys that are sturdy so they won't break.
  • Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning; make sure the label says, "nontoxic."
  • Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years.
  • Electric toys should be "UL Approved."
  • Do not buy or put up crib toys with wires or strings that hang in a crib to prevent strangulation.
  • Follow age recommendations on the toys since they offer information about the following:
  • Safety of the toy (for example, if there are any possible choking hazards)
  • Ability of a child to play with the toy
  • Ability of a child to understand how to use a toy
  • Needs and interests at various levels of a child's development

Recalled Toys

One of the Consumer Product Safety Commission's goals is to protect consumers and families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons, including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child's doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.

If you are not sure about the safety of a toy or want to know if a toy has been recalled, see the CPC Website www.cpsc.gov for photos and descriptions of all recalled toys.