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Children's Hospital, New Orleans



The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital
Toy Safety

Find out about developmental stages of children, what their abilities, skills and interest levels may be. Select toys age appropriate for the intended child. Toys usually have targeted age levels posted on the packaging for a reason. A toy too advanced poses safety hazards for younger children.
  • Read the instructions carefully, before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy. Use close supervision when allowing a child to play with a new toy.
  • To prevent burns or electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Battery-operated toys may be safe for children 8 years and over.
  • Children under age three are at greatest risk for choking on small parts from toys or games.
    • Keep the toys larger than the child’s fist
    • Use an empty toilet paper roll to check for choking hazard – if it fits inside the empty roll – it is a potential choking hazard
  • Swallowing small button batteries and magnets have caused serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death in children. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Remove strings, ribbons or cords from toys before giving them to young children to prevent strangulation or choking risk.
  • Pull toys with strings greater than 12 inches in length could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Rolling toys used for toddlers learning to walk should not roll too fast or have any parts that may cause injury if the child falls or impels himself on the toy.
  • Riding toys should be age appropriate and the child should be well-supervised. Surfaces for riding should be smooth and checked for hazards – use caution near streets or hilly areas.
  • Older children must wear helmets while riding or using any toy with wheels. Head injuries are most common for this age group.
  • Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.
  • All toys received as gifts should be checked by a parent for any possible hazard. Always consider all possibilities of how a child may use a toy and whether it would be safe under any use or abuse by a child’s play.
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