Kids can have a lot of fun playing with their toys. However, it's important to keep in mind that safety should always come first. Each year thousands of children are injured by toys.
Read on to learn what to look for when buying toys and how a few simple ideas for safe use can often prevent injuries. It's also important to look out for button batteries or lithium coin batteries, high-powered magnets or other small objects that children might be tempted to put in their mouths, noses or ears.
Preventing injuries from toys
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.
10 toy buying tips
Here are tips to help you choose safe and appropriate toys for your child.
Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
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. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child's hearing. See 10 Tips to Preserve Your Child's Hearing during the Holidays.
Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily into sharp pieces.
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. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
Electric toys should be "UL Approved." Check the label to be sure.
Be careful when buying crib toys. Soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation should be kept out of the crib. Any hanging crib toy (mobiles, crib gyms) should be out of your baby's reach and must be removed when your baby first begins to push up on their hands and knees, or when the baby is 5 months old—whichever comes first. These toys can strangle a baby. See Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation.
Look out for toys with small batteries or loose magnets
Be careful about buying toys with small batteries (button or lithium coin) or high-powered magnets. If they get loose, younger children might be tempted to put in their mouths, noses or ears, which can cause serious injuries.
Choosing the right toys for the right age
Age recommendations on toys are important, because they help you gauge:
- how safe the toy is (if there are any possible choking hazards, for example)
- whether your child will be able to understand how to play with the toy
- whether the toy will match their needs and interests at their stage of development
Important information about recalled toys
One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 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. See Blood Lead Levels: What Parents Need to Know.