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Selecting Safe Toys

By: Anapol Weiss

To Buy or Not to Buy?

You are trying to find a toy for your toddler or a friend’s youngster. The label on the package reads: Intended for children over 3 years of age. Did you look at your bright and curious 2 year old, who takes things apart at home and think to yourself she’ll love this toy and she’s old enough to play with it? Don’t do it.

Unless you are sure that that toy will only be used with an adult standing over the kid, buy something else!


Stuffed Animals, Dolls and Balloons.

Stuff toys that are filled with beans or other small objects that could choke a child if the toy develops a rip or hole must be watched or rejected. Also, don’t leave deflated balloons lying around the house. It’s easy for a child to choke on these balloons.

Toys with Cords or Chains.

A toy that has a rope, chain, string, elastic band or some other type of cord that is long enough to go around a child’s neck poses a danger of strangulation. Even if the cord is retractable, it’s dangerous. Strings, ropes, ribbons or cords on toys can get tangled around small necks. Either cut these pieces off pull toys or put the toys away until your child is older.

Toys that look good to eat.

Some toys are meant to look, smell or taste like food. Scented markers, erasers or doll accessories invite kids to put the toy in his mouth. It is a must to 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.

Toys that are easily breakable.

There are no standards to judge how easily a toy will break or shatter into dangerous small pieces. It is important to check to see if the toy you are buying is sturdy and built of strong shatterproof 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 your child.

Warnings Are Not Enough!

A label telling you that a toy is safe for kids over a certain age is no guarantee! Use your common sense. Each year, toys result in more than 150,000 injuries requiring hospitalization or emergency room treatment of kids. Never assume that a toy is safe simply because it is being sold by a reputable store or manufacturer.

Toilet Paper Roll Test!

Take an empty toilet tissue roll when you go shopping for toys. Try to drop any new toy that you like through the roll. If the toy falls freely through the tube, it’s a choking hazard?

Assume The Worst!

As a parent, expect your child to use the toy in the most dangerous way possible. You won’t always be watching! Kids will pull things apart and swallow them.

Test and Watch For Small Parts!

A child will put it in his or her mouth – count on it. Choking on small parts is the most predictable danger.

Use Common Sense!

Toys that are not dangerous for older kids may be deadly for babies and toddlers. Make sure the older ones understand the danger and keep risky toys away from the younger ones.