Safety Suggestions for Buying Toys for Children - Hazardous Consumer Products Registration

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Toys At All Ages

  • Read warning labels for age recommendations. Even the brightest child should not be given a toy labeled specifically for an older child. Toys meant for older children may have parts or strings that can choke or strangle a younger child.
  • Always give a safety helmet with the gift of a bicycle. Bicycles are associated with about 300 deaths and 400,000 injuries annually to children under age 15. Helmets decrease the risk of death and severe injury.
  • Buy the appropriate protective gear to complement all gifts of sporting equipment. For example, if you give a gift of in-line skates, be sure to buy a helmet and wrist, elbow, knee, and shin pads.


  • Never buy toys with cords and strings that can become wrapped around an infant's neck.
  • Buy large rattles, teethers, and squeeze toys that cannot get lodged in an infant's throat.

Children Under Age 3

  • Do not buy toys with small parts for children under 3 years old. This includes marbles, small balls and balloons, which can choke a young child.
  • Use caution when giving toys to older children who have siblings under age 3. Younger children often are injured by toys that are meant for their older siblings.
  • Buy toys made of sturdy construction with tightly-secured eyes, noses and other small parts.

Children Under Age 8

  • Do not buy toys with sharp points or metal edges.
  • Do not buy electrical toys with heating elements.
  • Avoid buying toy guns that look like and can be mistaken for real guns. Some cap guns can injure a child's hearing.
  • If you buy arrows or darts (not recommended for children under age 5), make sure they have rubber suction cups or flexible, protective tips that stay secured when used.
  • Do not buy balloons for children under age 8. Uninflated balloons and broken pieces can choke a child.

Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on toy recalls.