Buying Guidelines for Safe and Fun Toys
Toys are a source of fun and learning. The right toys can help children develop imagination and coordination. The wrong ones can do more harm than good. Toy-related injuries send tens of thousands of children to the emergency room each year. Most injuries occur when children play with toys meant for older children.
Your challenge as a parent is to find toys your children will enjoy and that you know are safe. These suggestions can help you make the right choice when selecting a toy.
Remember to follow the toy manufacturer recommendations about supervising your child while playing.
- Select toys to suit a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level. Read instructions carefully and follow suggested age levels as recommended by the manufacturer. Age recommendations are provided for developmental and safety reasons.
- Watch for small parts: Do not give toys with small parts to infants and toddlers. They tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.
- Inspect toys for solid construction: They should be made of durable materials, have no sharp edges or points and be able to withstand impact.
- Keep batteries away from children; Make sure batteries are locked securely in the toy. They can easily be swallowed and cause severe burns resulting in serious complications. If a button batteryis swallowed, it must be removed within 2 hours. Go to a pediatric emergency department immediately.
- Watch the action: Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Slingshots and high-powered water guns can cause injuries. BB guns should not be considered toys.
- Check stuffed animals: The eyes, noses and other small parts of stuffed animals should be securely fastened.
- Check noise level: Avoid toys that make loud or shrill noise to avoid serious ear injury.
- Avoid toys with electric heating elements. They may cause burns to a child.
- Toss or repair damaged toys.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger ones.
- Discard wrappings immediately. Sharp staples, wires and plastic bags can cause injuries and pose safety hazards. Put away scissors immediately after use.
- Make a list of safety rules. Share them with your children and their friends. Do not let children play with toys in dangerous ways.
- Check product recalls and safety information on Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety website.
Last updated: july 2013, october 2015