Tips for Finding Safe Toys

16590132_mWith Christmas in the rear view mirror, it may be time to move on to new subjects, but in our opinion, it is never too late to think about your child’s safety – particularly when it comes for the toys you buy for him.

You would think that in this day and age, with such a heavy focus on safety, especially for children, with all of the regulations and warning labels, and in a year when only 31 toys have been recalled, that you could feel confident about the toys you find on the shelves of your favorite store. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the case. About 250,000 kids go to the emergency room with toy-related injuries each year, and several are killed. Even when the dangers are discovered, defective toys are sometime allowed to remain on the shelves.

What You Can Do

  • Check for recalls. It is far from comprehensive, but it is the most basic step in ruling out the most dangerous toys. You can find the latest recalls on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website.
  • Many defective toys are never recalled and those which are recalled may be on the shelves for months or years before a recall is initiated. provides information on potentially dangerous toys that have not yet been recalled. The site allows consumers, health care providers, government agencies, child service providers, and others to report accidents and injuries caused by toys and other products. On the site, you can read the incident reports and any response or comment from the company that makes or sells the product.
  • Know the hazards. Many toys still lack warnings or are improperly labelled. While contaminants, such as lead, are not easily identified by parents, many common hazards are readily apparent if you know what to look for.

Common Hazards

Although we have had choking hazard warning for years, choking is still the leading cause of toy-related deaths. Watch out for toys that contain small parts or could break down into parts small enough to choke a young child.

A simple test you can do yourself is to try to pass the toy through a toilet paper tube. If it is small enough, then it is too small for children under three years old. Balloons and small balls pose a choking risk for children under six years old.

When swallowed, small magnets and batteries can cause internal injuries and can be fatal. The magnets pose a danger of pinching and piercing internal organs when more than one is swallowed. Batteries can leak acid causing injury.