Paint chips, choking hazards, burns— there are lots of things to watch out for when you have little ones. Luckily, parents have become more educated about toy safety. But because kids today have more toys than ever, it can be challenging to stay on top of which toys are safe and which aren’t. Fortunately, most toy-related injuries don’t require hospital stays, but there are still about 217,000 patients that are treated in the emergency room for these every year.
Toy Safety Guidelines to Keep Your Kids Safe
What Kind of Toys are Safe?
When purchasing toys or screening toys gifted by friends and family, check the box, instruction sheet, or label for the following:
- Toys should be age appropriate. You can double check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to help you. The age shown on toy boxes is determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity.
- Crayons and paints have the ASTM D-4236 designation which warns users of any safety or health hazards. Choose art materials that are safe and non-toxic.
- Toys with fabric should flame resistant.
- Painted toys should be lead-free.
- Stuffed animals and other stuffed toys should be washable.
- Choose durable toys that cannot be broken easily.
What Toys to Stay Away From?
- Loud toys can potentially lead to hearing loss.
- Older toys, especially those made before 1978, may have lead paint that is toxic to humans.
- Hand-me-down toys and used toys may not show the year they were made or how they were made.
- With infants and younger children, you need to be much more careful with the toys you select. Avoid toys less than 1 ¼” wide or 2 ¼” long because they are choking hazards. This includes marbles, coins, and small balls. You also want to avoid toys that have tiny parts that can be detached or ones that don’t have their battery covers screwed shut. Stay away from toys with strings less than 7 inches, which also pose a choking hazard.
- Toys that have parts or mechanisms that can wind up pinching body parts.
- Riding toys without safety straps.
You can reporting any unsafe toys to (800) 638-CPSC.
How Can You Practice Toy Safety at Home with Your Kids?
- Demonstrate how you use toys safely at home.
- Get your kids in the habit of putting toys away, especially if you have older kids with toys, such as legos, that may be unsafe for your younger ones.
- Store outdoor toys when they’re not in use so that they are not exposed to rain or wind.
- Check toys regularly to make sure that they’re clean and in good condition (aren’t rusted, splintered, or broken). To clean toys, you can mix antibacterial soap with hot water in a spray bottle and rinse the toys in water afterward.