Toy Safety -- Tips For Choosing Wisely

In December it seems like everyone is buying toys – not only parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends. Advertising and special prices attract buyers, but how do you know if a particular toy or gift is safe and age-appropriate for the child?
This month is designated as Safe Toys and Gifts Month, so read the packaging for the manufacturers’ age recommendations, apply common sense, and follow these tips to choose wisely:

For babies and toddlers up to age three…
Make sure the toy is strong enough to stand up to chewing.
Always discard the plastic wrapping from toys. These can be suffocation hazards.
Avoid toys that
  •          Are smaller than 1 ¼” diameter and 2 ¼” long. The cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper can act as a size tester in a pinch.
  •          Have strings longer than seven inches, including toys designed to hang over cribs or in playpens.
  •          Could pinch small fingers.
  •          Are breakable, have loose parts, or have small parts that can be pulled off. Examples include action figures with removable accessories, vehicles with small wheels, game pieces, batteries, marbles or stuffed animals with loose eyes or buttons.
  •          Have parts that get hot, exposed wires, lead paint, toxic materials, sharp points or edges, glass or brittle parts.
And, avoid all riding toys until the child is able to sit up well while unsupported. Be sure that the toy is stable and secure to prevent tipping.

For children between ages three and eight…
Avoid toys that:

  •          Have sharp points or edges
  •          Have heating elements, such as a toy oven that heats up
  •          Contain toxic substances, such as some art sets
  •          Can trap fingers
  •          Shoot or make loud noises, such as bb guns, cap guns or air guns
  •          May contain lead paint (usually older toys or hand-me-downs)
  •          Do not adhere to U.S. safety standards

And finally, ride-on toys are the most common cause of injury, so be especially cautious to match those to the child’s age, size and ability.

How Gwinnett Medical Center Can Help 

From maternity education courses, to infant care, car seat safety and fitness classes, we offer help for every stage of family life at the Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion at GMC-Lawrenceville. Learn more about our classes at, or browse our new interactive online wellness library at Health (e) Library.


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