1) Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest and skill level. Also, be aware of other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/flame resistant” or “Washable/Hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys.
2) Discard the plastic wrappings from toys immediately; they become deadly playthings to small children.
3) For children one and under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children this age learn through sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them.
4) Don’t give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc., they are choking hazards.
5) Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass—these toys should not be given to children under eight years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.
6) Toys with strings, cords or ribbons of any kind should not be hung in cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled which can cause injury or death.
7) Teach older children to keep their toys that may have removable small parts, sharp points or toys ran on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them.
8) Keep toys and play equipment in good condition, discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries.
9) Supervision is essential; provide safe hazard free play environments both indoors and outdoors. Toys get used and abused by children; regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.
10) Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls over them.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.