Articles and Topics
Are hand-me-down toys safe?
Gladys Albany
Gladys, it's important to be aware of anything in your child's home environment—toys, furniture, clothes, household products, food, etc.—that might be dangerous for your granddaughter. At 1 year old, your granddaughter is probably able to crawl and is beginning to walk and climb. One-year-olds are very curious and want to explore the world around them. They can choke on small objects, strangle themselves with cords, burn or poison themselves and fall from heights.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identifies products that are unsafe for children. Some old and hand-me-down items are still safe for children, but many have been found to be unsafe. To get a list of the recalled products, send a postcard to Recall Round-Up List, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington D.C. 20207. If you want to receive announcements of recalls, register at

The CPSC has identified several items that are very common in homes and hazardous to children. Check for these in your home:
  • An old crib that does not meet current safety standards. These can entrap, strangle and suffocate children. If your crib does not meet safety standards (see, replace it with a safe crib.
  • Children's jackets and sweatshirts with hood and neck drawstrings. These can get caught on playground equipment and strangle children. If your granddaughter's clothes have head or neck drawstrings, remove them.
  • Window blinds with pull cords and inner cords. These can form a loop and strangle children. If your window blinds have pull cords, tie them up out of reach, replace the pulls with safer split versions, or replace the blinds with safer blinds or curtains.

For more information on safety for young children, visit
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician