Avoiding Toy Hazards
Shopping for children's toys can be a challenge for parents. From a safety standpoint, it’s important to pick a toy that’s appropriate for the age. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets standards for toy manufacturers, to appropriately label toys that could be a hazard.
Here are some tips to ensure that toys and gifts you give or your children receive for the holidays are safe:
Under Age 3
- Toys with small parts can pose a hazard because of the possibility of choking. They are to be avoided.
- Children this young should not be allowed access to uninflated or broken balloons because of the choking danger. You also should avoid marbles, balls and games that use balls with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less.
- Because young children pull, prod and twist toys at this age, you should look for those that have tightly secured eyes, noses and other parts. And, of course, you should avoid toys with sharp edges and points.
- Children at this age tend to put everything in their mouth. Regularly clean plastic toys and put washable toys in a washing machine to kill germs.
Ages 3 to 5
- Toys with brittle plastic that can break into small pieces or leave jagged edges should be avoided.
- When buying material for art projects, look for products with the designation “ASTM D-4236.” That mark indicates the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and, if necessary, labeled with cautionary information.
- Older children should be taught to keep their toys away from their younger brothers and sisters.
Ages 6 to 12
- Adults should check toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. Needless to say, damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away.
- The barrel of any toy gun, or even the entire gun, should be brightly colored to distinguish it from a real gun.
- Teach your children to put toys away when they're done playing. This can avoid accidents.
More detailed information is available from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Helpful Web Links
- Safe Kids USA is a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14.
It educates families, provides safety devices to families in need and advocates for better laws to help keep children safe, healthy and out of the emergency room.
- Wake Forest Baptist Health—Brenner Children’s Hospital is home to Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont.
- Toy safety tips from Brenner Children's Hospital
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a list of all toy hazard recalls.
- Prevent Blindness America, among its many interests, promotes safety in toys for children, a leading cause of eye injury and blindness. It is a national sponsor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month.
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