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For Release:

12/8/2021

Media Contact:

Lisa Black
630-626-6084
lblack@aap.org


Pay attention to the age recommendations for toys to reduce choking hazards and reflect the needs of children at their developmental stage

The gift-giving season has arrived, and many children look forward to playing with new toys. To keep these experiences joy-filled, it’s important to carefully consider toy purchases and ways to avoid injury.

 “Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises,” said Benjamin Hoffman, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. “But some toys can actually be dangerous or cause injury if they are used in the wrong way. Look out for button batteries, high-powered magnets or other small objects that children might be tempted to put in their mouths, noses, or ears.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers its top 10 toy buying tips for this holiday season, which journalists are encouraged to share in articles, broadcasts or podcasts.

  1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to correctly use a toy and for what ages the toy is safe. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
  2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child's mouth, or can’t fit into a toilet paper roll, to prevent choking (especially for children less than 3 years).
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or can cause choking if swallowed.
  4. Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child's hearing. See 10 Tips to Preserve Your Child's Hearing during the Holidays.
  5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily with sharp edges.
  7. Make sure the label says "nontoxic."
  8. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
  9. Electric toys should be "UL Approved." Check the label to be sure.
  10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation and should be kept out of the crib. Any hanging crib toy (mobiles, crib gyms) should be out of your baby's reach and must be removed when your baby first begins to push up on their hands and knees or when the baby is 5 months old, whichever occurs first. These toys can strangle a baby.

“Make sure to check the age recommendations on toys, which not only helps prevent possible choking hazards but also tells you that these toys are best suited for your child’s needs and interests at this stage of development,” said Lois Lee, MD, MPH, FAAP, incoming chair of the Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Important information about recalled toys

One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is to protect consumers a​nd families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child's doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.

To request an interview, contact AAP Public Affairs. More information is available at HealthyChildren.org, including: