Print this page Toy Safety Tips

At the store:

  • Check and follow age guidance and other safety information on packaging (age grading is based mostly on safety and not on how smart a child may be)
  • Avoid toys with small parts for children under age three (3) and children who mouth toys
  • Inspect toys at the store, looking for sturdy parts and tightly secured joints
  • Make sure that batteries in toys are firmly enclosed and inaccessible to children
  • For children under 18 months of age, avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than twelve (12) inches
  • Check to see that plush (stuffed) toys have age-appropriate features such as embroidered or secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or rough edges, especially for younger children
  • Shop at a reputable retailer you know and trust

Once the packages are opened:

  • Read instructions carefully; save directions, warranties and assembly hardware
  • Role play the right way to use the toy or game and explain to your child the importance of proper use
  • Dispose of all unnecessary toy packaging and gift-wrap as soon as possible (piles of discarded gift-wrap can conceal sharp objects or the edges of hard plastic packaging that can cut small fingers)
  • Store toys safely in an easily accessible storage bin; lidded toy storage should be non-locking and have special safety features such as air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught
  • Keep a separate toy chest for older children whose toys may contain small parts; enlist their help in keeping their toys out of reach of younger siblings

Throughout the year:

  • Engage grandparents and caregivers in a discussion about toys and safe play; help them become familiar with these toy safety tips and the importance of age- and interest-appropriate toys
  • Be a good role model for the safe use of toys and stay engaged in active adult supervision of children at play
  • Keep plush (stuffed) toys out of the cribs of infants and younger children
  • Keep toys organized and off stairs or high-traffic areas in your home
  • Keep toys away from unsupervised areas (pools, bathtubs, driveways or streets with traffic) so they don’t lure a child into a dangerous situation
  • Engage older children in keeping their toys away from younger siblings
  • Inspect toys regularly and repair (or replace) damaged or broken parts immediately