A Toy Safety Checklist for Parents

Man falling down stairs tripping on toys.
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How do you know if your child's toys are safe? This toy safety checklist will help parents and gift givers keep in mind important safety tips when it comes to buying toys for their children to play with. 

Toys are fun. Many offer opportunities for learning. Sometimes to save money we might buy used toys. Relatives might have bins of old toys in their home that they keep for young children to play with.

There are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys, that as parents we might not realize. It is important to be aware of what children are playing with and beware of potential dangerous situations.

First Find The Recommended Age

Always make sure the toy or game is right for your child's age, especially if your child is under the age of 3. All new toys will have a recommended age or age range listed on the box or packaging.

Warning Labels Must Be Read and Followed

Please make sure that you read and follow all warning labels associated with the toy you are buying. = Rectangular boxes with pictures alert adults to warnings.

There are warning labels for small toys for kids under 3. There are also warnings where toys might make children at risk for falling, where toys might contain magnets or sharp edges.

Check For Sharp Edges and Points

Check all toys for sharp and pointed edges. This is especially important for younger children, since they have a tendency to put things into their mouths or into their eyes.

There is always a danger of falling on top of the toy while playing, which also may cause injury if an older brother or sister does not put the toy away.

Check if the Toy Has Cords or Strings Attached

If the toy you are planning to buy has cords or strings attached to it, please be careful that it does not have a long cord.

There is always a danger of the cord getting entangled into a loop which could wrap around the child's neck and strangle them, not allowing them to breathe. Older, antique toys definitely have cords that are long.

Avoid Toys With Small Parts

Never buy a toy which has small or loose parts that can come unattached and give it to a child under the ages of 3 to play with.  Younger kids have a tendency to swallow things, which can pose a danger. Also check if the toy or stuffed animal has loose parts like eyes, noses which can be pulled off and placed in a child's mouth.

    Make Sure the Toy is Sturdy and Strong

    It is important to check to see if the toy you are buying is sturdy and built of strong shatter proof material. In case of any falls or accidents, the toy should not break into pieces with sharp edges as this can cause bodily injury to the child.

      Is the Toy Loud?

      In case the toy you are buying has sound, check to make sure the noise levels are not to loud. Many toys now have volume control and an off-button.

      Toys that are really loud could permanently damage the sensitive hearing of children. 

        Make Sure the Toy is Non Toxic

        If you are buying toys like crayons, art supplies, toys with liquids or sensory activities, make sure that the toys do not contain toxic chemicals. You can check the labels to make sure they are safe in case of accidental ingestion.

        Does Your Child Have Food Allergies?

        Many kids like to bake with a tabletop cooking oven to make cookies and other sweet treats. If your child has food allergies, check the ingredients lists on any baking toys.

        Does The Toy Have Magnets?

        Newer magnetic toys are fun and safe. These toys now have magnets safely encased in plastic. However, you should be mindful of toys with magnets in case parts become lose because they are very dangerous if swallowed.

        Make Sure That the Toy is Not Recalled

        You can check on the internet on various sites provided by the government like Consumer Product Safety Commission where you can find more toy safety information and check the list to see if any of the toys that you have bought have been on any toy recall lists.  

          Article edited by Keriann Wilmot, Toys Expert at About.com.