It is important to consider several safety factors when purchasing toys for children. Toys should be appealing and interesting to a child, age-appropriate, well-constructed, durable and suited for that particular child’s physical, mental and social capabilities.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sets mandatory toy safety regulations, as follows:
- Electrical toys should have no shock or thermal hazards.
- Toys should not contain toxic materials in or on them.
- Toy paint should not contain traces of lead.
- Art materials used by children under 12 should be non-hazardous.
- Latex toys, games and balloons must contain warning labels regarding the choking and suffocation hazards.
Ages 3 to 6
- All toys and games with small parts must be labeled to warn of the choking hazards.
- All toys and games with balls less than 1.75 inches diameter must be labeled to warn of choking hazards.
- All toys and games with marbles must be labeled for choking hazards.
Under Age 8
- Electrically operated toys should not have heating elements.
- No toys should have sharp points or edges.
Tips for Parents
Parents can take a number of steps to help reduce their child’s risk for toy-related injuries:
- Make sure to refer to age and safety labels.
- Keep deflated balloons and broken balloon pieces away from children.
- Keep objects that can easily fit into a child’s mouth out of reach.
- Read all toy warnings and instructions.
- Keep a child’s ability in mind, rather than age, when purchasing toys.
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods and dangerous edges.
- Repair or replace any damaged or defective toys.
- Supervise children’s craft projects, as scissors and glue are among the most dangerous products.
Keep in mind that you can always report a dangerous toy. If you think a toy or product is hazardous, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov.