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Toy Safety



  • Thousands of children are treated in the emergency department every year because they were injured by toys. Children may be cut, bruised, poisoned, shocked, suffocated, or choked by unsafe toys.
  • Look on the toy’s label to see if it says that it is made for children the same age as your child. This helps you know what kinds of toys will appeal to children of certain ages. It also helps you find safe toys for your child.


Toys are fun and help children learn to solve problems, such as how to get toys upright if they fall over. Children can learn about colors, numbers, shapes, balance, and what happens when they move or open the toy. However, thousands of children are treated in the emergency department every year because they were injured by toys.

You need to think about safety when researching, buying, and playing with toys. Supervise your child’s play to teach your child how to play safely while having fun. A few general safety tips for toys include making sure that:

  • Toys are larger than your child’s mouth to help prevent choking and swallowing.
  • All toys are non-toxic and made with lead-free paint.
  • Battery cases screw shut so your child cannot pry them open.
  • Hand-me-down or hand-made toys meet current safety guidelines.
  • Electric toys are marked “UL approved.”

Here are some ideas to help you choose safe toys for your child.

Suggested toys for infants (0 to 18 months)

  • Brightly colored mobiles or pictures on the wall that your baby can see are good choices for infants. To prevent strangulation, make sure any strings or ribbons that hang objects over the crib are no longer than 7 inches. Remove all crib mobiles and other hanging objects once your baby can push up onto his or her hands and legs to reach them, at about 5 months of age.
  • Sturdy rattles
  • Large plastic rings and teething toys
  • Washable soft dolls or stuffed animals without button noses or plastic eyes
  • Colorful balls
  • Washable cloth or soft plastic cubes
  • Floating toys for the bathtub
  • Washable squeak toys
  • Sturdy, washable picture books that your child can touch

Suggested toys for toddlers (18 months to 3 years)

  • Large and small colored blocks or simple 2- to 3-piece puzzles
  • Washable cuddly animals and sock puppets
  • Large, soft balls
  • Washable, unbreakable dolls or toy trucks, trains, or cars
  • Push-pull toys with rounded handles
  • Simple musical instruments such as drums
  • Objects to imitate adults: toy garden tools that don’t have sharp edges, telephones, dishes, or pots and pans
  • Sturdy, colorful picture books

Suggested toys for preschoolers (3 to 6 Years)

  • Large boxes to play in
  • Crawl-through play equipment
  • Toy cars, trucks, and trains
  • Washable stuffed animals and unbreakable dolls or action figures
  • Simple musical instruments such as drums and tambourines
  • Sets for farm and zoo animals, the circus, hospital, or fire station
  • Simple construction sets and board games
  • Large balls
  • Art supplies: paints, modeling clay, paste, colored paper, and blunt scissors. Make sure crayons and paints are non-toxic.
  • Hand puppets
  • Wagon to ride in
  • Tricycles or bikes that are the right size for your child. Make sure your child wears a fitted helmet when riding a bike.
  • Toy telephones, kid’s garden tools without sharp edges, a simple doll house, or plastic dishes
  • Books

Suggested toys for children (6 to 9 years)

  • Construction sets
  • Art materials: crayons, chalk, paint, modeling clay, simple weaving materials
  • Chalkboard, dry erase board, or flannel board
  • Bikes that are the right size for your child. Make sure your child wears a fitted helmet for all bicycle, skating, and skateboard activity. Provide protective knee and elbow pads and wrist guards, and make sure your child wears them. This helps to minimize injuries. Set clear rules for skating, bicycle, and skateboard riding, such as not playing in the street.
  • Jump ropes
  • Board games and puzzles
  • Paper doll sets
  • Puppets
  • Kites
  • Science toys such as a magnifying glass, aquarium, or terrarium. Avoid chemistry sets for children under 12 years of age.
  • Books

Suggested toys for children (10 to 14 years)

  • Computer games
  • Construction sets
  • Weather kits, telescopes, and microscopes
  • Board games
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Hobby related items, such as model planes or needlework
  • 3-D puzzles

For more information, contact:

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2022.1 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-11-21
Last reviewed: 2019-06-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2022 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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