Choosing safe toys this holiday season

December is Safe Toys and Safe Gifts awareness month.

boy with fire truck at christmas

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the awareness month falls around the biggest gift giving season of all.  With so many of us focused on finding that perfect toy our child wants, it’s easy to forget to about the safety standards of some of those toys.

To help with your holiday toy buying, we have come up with our top 5 tips for choosing safe toys and gifts for the children in your life.

Check for art supplies that are labeled “non-toxic”.  Look for the  ASTM D-4236 label on paints and crayons, which indicates that the material has been tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Look for flame retardant/resistant materials. Stuffed toys should be labeled as machine washable. Make sure plastic eyes and noses are sewn tightly and are not coming loose.

Don’t give gifts with small parts (this includes small, button-sized batteries and magnets which can be deadly if swallowed)  to young children. Hide the shoes and tiny accessories that come with dolls, or choose larger building blocks instead of the small plastic building blocks.  A good rule of thumb is that if a piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, then it’s too small to give to a child under the age of 3.  Some retailers also sell small part testers, if you are in doubt.

Choose age appropriate gifts.  What may be appropriate for an 8 year old, may not be for a 6 year old.  Most toy manufacturers have age ranges on the boxes to help you select the best toy.

Give the gift of safety.  We all want to encourage our kids to be outdoors and be involved in active play, so when gifting bikes, scooters and other sporting equipment, include items like helmets or knee pads. Look for items that have CPSC or Snell certification on the labels to insure the helmet meets current safety standards.

As  parent, inspect gifts that have been given to your child.  Make sure they are age appropriate and that they are safe from hazards, like lead-paint, small pieces or long chords.

The Federation of State PRIGS

Kids Health

Toy Info.org