December is known as Safe Toys and Gifts Month.  Toy safety is important when making gift choices because knowing what to look for can prevent possible injuries.  Sometimes when we shop for our little ones we forget to look at safety standards and age appropriateness.  Each year a large number of children are treated at hospitals for injuries related to toys for those under the age of 15 that could have been prevented.  Following a few toy safety guidelines can help prevent any injuries and allow for your children to enjoy their holyday gift.

Toy Safety Selection Guidelines

Before purchasing toys as gifts keep this in mind:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box related to the toy.
  • Purchase toys meant for your child’s age, maturity level and ability.
  • Do not purchase toys that include sharp points, rods, spikes, or edges.
  • Look for toys that meet all safety standards as passed by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • Check for reviews or if any recalls have been noted for the toy you may purchase.
  • It may be wise to not purchase toys with small parts as this can potentially be a choking hazard for young children.
  • Avoid toys that include parts that fly off or have lenses that can easily break and cause injuries.
  • Educate yourself when it comes to lead in toys.  Make sure crayons or markers are nontoxic.  Learn more on lead exposure from toys and symptoms of lead poisoning.  These websites are good sources of information and

When letting children play with new toys:

  • Inspect each toy to check for safe and sturdiness.
  • Explain to your child how the toys work and go over safety precautions.
  • Fix or throw away broken parts or toys.
  • Keep young children from playing with toys for older children while storing properly to avoid risks.
  • If the children are playing sports or outdoors have them wear eye protection and helmets if necessary.
  • Supervise your children while playing.

If you are purchasing toys for children with special needs try to choose those that may appeal to different senses such as sound, texture and movement.  Consider interactive toys that promote playing with others and think of toy size or position a child would need to be in to play.  The website contains helpful information on purchasing toys for children with special needs.

We all want to protect our children from harm.  We can best achieve this goal by providing safe toys, playing environment and proper adult supervision.