Selecting Safe Toys
What to look for when you buy
Each year, toys injure thousands of children. While many of these injuries are minor, toys can be deadly under certain circumstances. In fact, not all toys are safe for children, depending on their age and developmental progression.
When purchasing toys for children, it is important to consider several safety factors. Toys should be well-constructed, durable and suited for each particular child’s physical, mental and social capabilities.
The following are features to look for when selecting a toy that’s appropriate for all ages:
- Electrical toys shouldn’t have shock or thermal hazards.
- Toys shouldn’t contain toxic materials.
- Toy paint should not contain traces of lead.
- Art materials used by children under 12 should be non-hazardous.
- Latex toys, games and balloons must contain warning labels regarding the choking and suffocation hazards.
Ages 3 to 6
The following are features to look for when selecting a toy that’s appropriate for those between the ages of 3 to 6:
- All toys and games with small parts must be labelled to warn of the choking hazards.
- All toys and games with balls less than 4.5-centimetres in diameter must be labelled to warn of choking hazards.
- All toys and games with marbles must be labelled for choking hazards.
Under Age 8
The following are features to look for when selecting a toy that’s appropriate for those under the age of 8:
- Electrically operated toys shouldn’t have heating elements.
- Toys should not have sharp points or edges.
Tips for Parents
Parents can take a number of steps to help reduce their child’s risk for toy-related injuries:
- Make sure to refer to age and safety labels.
- Keep deflated balloons and broken balloon pieces away from children. Balloons should be used for decoration only—not for play.
- Keep objects that can easily fit into a child’s mouth out of reach. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.
- Read all toy warnings and instructions. Show your child how to safely use the toy.
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods and dangerous edges.
- Repair or replace any damaged or defective toys.
- Supervise children’s craft projects, as scissors and glue are among the most dangerous products for children.
- Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air.
- Make sure any riding toys you buy are right for your child’s age, size and abilities. Check that the ride-on toy will not tip when your child is using it.
- Avoid purchasing toys that are loud, as these can damage your child’s hearing.
- Look for well-made stuffed toys. Toys should be machine washable and free of loose ribbons. Seams and edges should be secure.
- Discard plastic wrappings on toys immediately.
- Purchase plastic toys that are well made and sturdy. Toys made of cheap materials can break easily and create choking hazards.
- Do not give children under age 10 a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
- Be cautious about toys containing button batteries or magnet.
- Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says non-toxic.
- Teach children to put their toys safely away after playing to prevent trips and falls. Store toys in a designated location, such as on an open shelf or in a bin.
- Keep toys designed for older children out of the hands of younger ones.
- Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards
- Pay close attention to product recalls. Parents can track toy recalls here.