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The holiday shopping season is upon us and with that comes decisions on which hot new toy to buy the children in your family. While toys are fun it’s also important to consider their safety. Each year thousands of children and injured by seemingly harmless toys.

Age and skill level should be the first factors when determining what toys are appropriate and safe for your child. It’s also important to look for quality construction and design to ensure normal wear and tear won’t make the toy dangerous.

When purchasing toys for your children this holiday season be sure to follow these simple guidelines as well as looking for potential hazards.

  • Fabric toys should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Painted toys must use lead free paint.
  • Art materials should be labeled as nontoxic.
  • Stuffed toys should be washable.

Potential Toy Hazards

  • Sharp points and edges
    • Toys for younger children should not have sharp edges but may break over time and create potentially harmful surfaces.
  • Cords and strings
    • These pose potential strangulation hazards for young children as they can get wrapped around their neck. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons in cribs or playpens where children may get entangled. Even if the toy is made specifically for crib use, it could be dangerous without the proper supervision.
  • Small parts
    • This choking hazard includes any removable parts such as eyes or buttons.
  • Propelled Objects
    • Arrows or darts should have protective tips such as soft cork or suction cups to avoid injury. Avoid toys that might be capable of firing objects not intended for use in the toy.
  • Electric Toys
    • Electric toys with heating elements are recommended only for children over eight years old but should still be under adult supervision.

Simply buying appropriate toys isn’t the end of safety measures. Toys should also be regularly checked for potentially harmful wear and tear. This could include splinters, rust, broken seams, or exposed removeable parts. Toys should also be regularly cleaned to rid them of bacteria and germs.

If you have any doubt about a toy’s safety, be cautious and do not allow your child to play with it. Also, check our monthly recall list or the CPSC website for the latest information about toy recalls.