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Important Tips for Toy Safety

The holiday season is here. Don’t forget the importance of safety. When you buy toys for your child, make sure they are safe and appropriate for their age. When your children receive toys, it’s a good idea to check them for safety before they play with them.

Here are some toy safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other child safety sources.

  • Become a label reader. Follow the age recommendations on a toy’s box or label. Keep toys intended for older children away from younger children. Look for safety labels, including “nontoxic,” “flame retardant/flame resistant” or “washable/hygienic materials.” Remember to read the instructions carefully before letting a child play with a toy.
  • If you buy a bike or scooter for your child, make sure they have a helmet and protective gear that fits properly and meets safety standards. Make sure they are worn properly while riding or skating.
  • Make sure your child doesn’t have access to magnets and small “button” batteries. Button batteries are shiny and appealing to kids. More than 3,000 button batteries are swallowed each year. They can cause a major injury or even death if swallowed.
  • Search for toy recalls. The CPSC regularly issues recalls for toys that could possibly expose children to lead and other potential hazards. Photos and descriptions of recalled toys are available on the CPSC website. Or you can call the CPSC Hotline at 800-638-2772.

Get more tips.

Toys to Help Your Child Grow

It’s important for children to read and be physically active. Toys can play a role in boosting their interest in those areas.

Here are some toys that encourage physical activity and reading at different age levels:

Babies up to 12 months: Large balls, push-pull toys, and low, soft items for babies to crawl over.

Soft cuddly items like stuffed animals, cloth dolls or puppets (without detachable button noses and eyes), water play toys for bath time, crib gyms, floor activity quilts, soft mats for play, plastic-coated books, rattles or sound-makers like squeak toys.

Please remember toys should never be placed where an infant sleeps, as they can cause death by suffocation. Toys should only be used by infants when they are awake and under the direct supervision of an adult caregiver.

Toddlers (age 1-2): Items listed immediately above, plus: cloth-covered foam blocks, cardboard blocks, stacking toys, pop-up toys, board books, two- to four-piece puzzles. Also: Large and small balls for kicking and throwing; ride-on equipment (avoid tricycles until children are 3); tunnels (from cardboard boxes or other safe materials); hammering toys.

Preschoolers (age 2-5): Items listed immediately above, plus: wooden blocks, construction toys such as Legos, pretend-play toys, nesting table toys, non-toxic art and clay-like modeling materials, simple board and card games, puzzles (up to 16 pieces), picture books and simple language books, train sets or activity play stations such as an airport, farm or zoo. Also: Large and small balls for kicking, throwing and catching; hoops and jump ropes; ride-on equipment, including tricycles and wagons; plastic bats and balls; and targets to throw things at.

School-age children (age 6-10): Items listed immediately above, plus: complex card and board games, art and craft kits, car or airplane model kits, natural science collections, hand-held electronic/computer games, jump rope, computer, CD player, bike, chapter books and short novels, sports equipment, musical instruments, jigsaw puzzles.

Additional Resources

Shopping Tips for Safe Toys from kidcentral tn.

Toy Safety for the Holidays from kidcentral tn.

Think Toy Safety by Knowing Toy Dangers, from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

A Consumer’s Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys (ages 0-5), from the CPSC.

A Consumer’s Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys (ages 6-12), from the CPSC.