Buying Guidelines for Safe and Fun Toys
The right toys can help children develop imagination and coordination. The wrong ones
can do more harm than good.
Toy-related injuries send tens of thousands of children to the emergency room each
year. Many injuries occur when parents give their children toys meant for older children.
Although many toy manufacturers follow safety guidelines for their products, some
don't. Your challenge is to find toys your children will enjoy and that you know are
These suggestions can help you make the right choice when selecting a birthday or
holiday gift for children.
Watch for small parts
Don't give toys with small parts to toddlers and small children. These youngsters
tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.
Select toys to suit a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level. Toys that
are too advanced can pose safety hazards.
Look for standards
Look for the letters "ASTM." This means that a product meets the national safety standards
set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Be sure to read any warning
labels before buying toys. Also, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website
for a list of recalled toys and recall alerts.
Is it noisy?
Don't give your child toys that make loud or shrill noise to avoid serious ear injury.
Choose well-made stuffed animals
The eyes, noses, and other small parts of stuffed animals should be securely fastened
to reduce the risk of choking.
Never buy hobby kits, such as chemistry sets, for children younger than 12. Provide
proper supervision when older children play with such toys.
Watch the action
Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Slingshots and high-powered water
guns can injure children they are aimed at. BB guns shouldn't be considered toys.
Don't buy toys with electric heating elements.
Inspect toys for solid construction
They should be made of long-lasting materials, have no sharp edges or points, and
be able to survive impact.
Read instructions carefully and follow suggested age levels and safety instructions.
Age labeling is provided for developmental and safety reasons.
Show and tell
Explain and demonstrate how to use toys.
Repair or get rid of damaged toys.
Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger ones.
How do they play?
Don't let children play with toys in dangerous ways.
Throw away wrappings right away. Sharp staples and plastic bags can be dangerous and
Make a list of safety rules and share them with your children. If your youngsters
are playing with friends, remind everyone of your safety rules.