Toy safety for kids

Children should only play with toys that are age appropriate and that are free of small parts that can be swallowed by young children. Toy manufacturers include warning labels for parents. Ensure that your child plays with age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels. Do not let your child play with older childrenís toys as it could present a hazard to your child.

Ensure that toys are used in a safe environment

  • Always supervise children at play.
  • Do not place any toys in your childís crib.
  • Play with your child. Play is valuable when adults become involved and interact with children rather than supervising from a distance. It is a great opportunity to learn about your child and bond together.
  • Riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools.
  • Teach children to put toys away after playing to prevent any tripping hazards.
  • Make sure toy chests have no lids or have safety hinges.

Inspect all toys regularly for potential hazards

  • Check regularly for damage such as sharp edges and loose, small parts that could become a choking hazard. Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of childrenís reach.
  • Young children should never play with toys with strings, straps or cords longer than seven inches, which can accidentally strangle them.
  • Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Children under age 8should not use toys with electrical plugs or batteries.
  • Donít let children under age 8 blow up balloons. Use Mylar balloons instead of latex balloons. If you must use latex balloons, store them out of reach of children, and deflate and discard balloons and balloon pieces after use
  • Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website regularly to obtain information on recent toy recalls.
  • Return warranty and product registration forms for new toy purchases to the manufacturers to ensure that you will be notified of any recalls.

Tips for age-appropriate toys

0 to 1 year olds

Newborns to 1-year-olds explore with their hands, mouths and eyes, and enjoy toys they can touch or squeeze.

  • Crib gyms
  • Floor activity centers
  • Activity quilts
  • Squeaky toys
  • Soft dolls or stuffed animals

1 to 3 year olds

One to 3-year-olds climb, jump, walk and throw and play rough and tumble games.

  • Soft blocks
  • Large blocks
  • Push and pull toys
  • Pounding and shaping toys
  • Books

3 to 5 year olds

Three to 5-year-olds like to experiment with imaginary situations and have toys that are close companions.

  • Non-toxic art supplies
  • Pretend toys (e.g. play money, telephone)
  • Teddy bears or dolls
  • Outdoor toys such as a tricycle with a helmet

5 to 9 year olds

Five to 9-year-olds like to be challenged with complex games that teach specific skills and concepts.

  • Arts and crafts kits
  • Puppets
  • Jump ropes
  • Non-toxic art supplies
  • Miniature dolls and action figures

9 to 14 year olds

Nine to 14-year-olds develop lifelong skills, hobbies and enjoy team sports.

  • Handheld electronic games
  • Board games
  • Sports equipment
  • Model kits
  • Musical instruments

Once you purchase age-appropriate, safe toys there are still actions you can take to make sure your child gets the most out of his or her play time.

Safe Kids USA downloads

  • Toy safety fact sheet - PDF
  • Baby safety basics guide - PDF (ENG)  |  PDF (SPA)
  • Pocket guide to safe and age appropriate toys - PDF
  • Tips to prevent toy injuries - PDF

For more information