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What do the age gradings on toys really mean?
By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell

When toys are labeled with ages, does the child really need to be that age? Are the labels for safety, or are they based on research on developmental stages? Those are questions parent often ask, and here’s how we answer.


Age recommendations are guidelines for parents and gift-givers to use when purchasing toys for children. The age recommendations on Fisher-Price toys are based on the following factors:

  • Safety guidelines
  • Sound knowledge of the developmental stages of children
  • Observations of children interacting with toys
  • Input from parents of young children regarding the age-appropriateness of toys, and
  • History of similar toys.

So you can see that much consideration, deliberation and testing goes into establishing the age recommendation for toys. In addition to following the age recommendations for toys, parents should instruct older children to keep their toys out of reach when younger children are around, as there could be small parts which could cause a choking hazard.