Published on 12/17/18

Shop with toy safety in mind at gift time

By Becca Stackhouse, CFLE

When toy shopping for children, shopping at your favorite store or clicking a button online involves a certain responsibility. It’s important to choose wisely when buying holiday toys to make sure your gifts aren’t an unintentional safety hazard.

One of the most important things to consider is whether the toy is age-appropriate for the child. This means choosing something that is complex enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that the child can’t play with it. It is also important to ensure that toys are used properly, so checking in with the child’s parents or caregivers is a wise idea.

When choosing the ideal toy for a child in your life, think about the child and the toy. Ask yourself about the child’s interests, abilities and needs, likes and dislikes and the type of play area available. Avoid toys that won’t work in the space available.

Here are some basic guidelines to choose safe toys for children:

  1. Select high-quality toys made of sturdy, durable materials. Avoid toys that are cheaply made, as they could break easily.
  2. Avoid toys with sharp edges or sharp points. These could cause injury.
  3. Avoid toys with small parts for children under age three. Small parts could be a choking hazard.
  4. When buying battery-operated toys, make sure the parts are secure, the batteries cannot be removed easily and the toy is sturdy enough to handle how the child plays.
  5. Read package labels to make sure the toy was made using safe materials. Look for words like “nontoxic” on art materials and “flame resistant” on fabric toys.
  6. Check the suggested age range on the package. Be cautious about choosing toys for children below the suggested age range, as they may be unsafe for a younger child.
  7. If a toy comes with instructions, be sure to read them and share any safety information with children and parents or caregivers.
  8. Parents or caregivers should check each toy periodically to make sure all parts are still attached and nothing is broken or loose.

Play is the most important way children learn. By following these guidelines when choosing toys, we can all help ensure that children remain safe during playtime.

For more information on selecting toys for children, visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) website at

UGA Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Crisp County

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