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Safety & Prevention

How can I be sure I am buying toys that are safe for my child?

Children 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.

How to prevent injuries

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

Here are 10 tips to help you choose safe and appropriate toys for your child.

  1. 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.
  2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.
  4. Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child’s hearing.
  5. 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.
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily.
  7. Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
  8. 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.
  9. Electric toys should be “UL Approved.” Check the label to be sure.
  10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation. Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees.

Gift ideas by age

Age recommendations on toys can be helpful because they offer guidelines on the following:

  • The safety of the toy (for example, if there any possible choking hazards)
  • The ability of a child to play with the toy
  • The ability of a child to understand how to use a toy
  • The needs and interests at various levels of a child’s 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.

 

Last Updated
8/7/2013
Source
A Parent's Guide to Toy Safety (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.