No matter how old they are or where they’re playing, we know your little one’s safety is your top concern. Check out these toy safety tips from www.PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association’s website for parents and caregivers. Keep these in mind to help make sure playtime for your child is both fun and safe!
TOY SELECTION: Always check and follow age guidance and other safety information on toy packaging. It’s especially important to be aware of the “3+” age label on toys. Most of these playthings are not recommended for children under age three (or those who still mouth toys) because they come with small parts that a toddler or infant may choke on.
If your child is too young for a toy they get from a well-meaning family member, it’s a good idea to set it aside until they’re old enough to play with it safely. Remember: the age grading on a toy is not about how smart your child is – it’s safety guidance that’s based on the developmental skills and abilities of children at a given age, and the specific features of a toy.
SUPERVISE SAFE PLAY: When your child gets a new toy, read the instructions together, then get down on the floor with them and have some fun! This is a great opportunity to show them how to safely and properly play with their toy. Once they are comfortable playing on their own you can take a step back, but never leave them unsupervised.
Save directions, warranties, and assembly hardware, and dispose of all unnecessary toy packaging and gift-wrap as soon as possible (piles of discarded gift-wrap can conceal sharp objects and the edges of hard plastic packaging that can cut small fingers).
TOY STORAGE & MAINTENANCE: Store toys safely in an easily accessible storage bin. Lidded toy storage should be non-locking and have special safety features like air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught. Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Every so often, sort through the toy box and get rid of broken toys, worn toys, or toys with missing parts.
Finally, keep a separate toy chest for older kids whose toys may contain small parts, and enlist their help in keeping their toys out of the hands of younger siblings. They’ll love having the shared responsibility of keeping their little brother or sister safe!
BATTERIES: For toys that use batteries, you’ll want to make sure that the batteries are securely enclosed in their compartments so that they can’t be accessed by kids. Keep old or extra batteries far away from children too, because they can be very dangerous if accidentally swallowed.
SECOND-HAND TOYS: Never sacrifice safety for bargain-bin prices. Second-hand toys should be only slightly or lightly used – never broken or falling apart. And although recalls are rare, you’ll want to make sure that the toy you’re considering buying hasn’t been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (visit recalls.gov to search for the toy or game at hand).
When in doubt, always shop at a retailer you know and trust. The toy industry works year-round to ensure that all toys on store shelves are reliable and safe!
MORE TOY SAFETY TIPS: Rest assured that all toys sold in the U.S. must adhere to tough federal safety standards, but there are things parents and caregivers can do to keep their kids safe while they play. Check out PlaySafe.org for a ton of toy and play safety tips – including outdoor play safety tips, advice for new parents, and everything else a parent or caregiver needs to know to make sure that playtime is fun and safe!