Safety Tips


Everyone who buys toys should remember that playthings are safe only when they are chosen according to a child's age, interest and skill level. Pay close attention to age recommendations, such as, "Not recommended for children under three". Be aware of other safety labels including "Flame retardant/flame resistant" on fabric products and "Washable/Hygienic materials" on stuffed dolls and toys.

Make sure that all instructions are clear to you and, when appropriate, the child. Discard the plastic wrappings from the toys immediately before they become deadly playthings. Below are suggestions for safeguarding your children's play as they grow.

One-year-old children discover the joys of sight, touch, sound and taste through their play. Choose colorful, lightweight toys made of smooth, non-toxic materials. Avoid toys that might break.

Don't give your child any toys that have small parts such as removable eyes, noses, or noisemakers.

Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made of metal or glass - such toys should not be given to children under eight years of age. Remember, this includes stuffed animals with wires inside that could stab or cut if exposed.

Toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons should not be hung in cribs or playpens. A young child could become dangerously entangled.

Two-year-old children want to know how everything works. Give them very simple toys meant to be taken apart. Avoid toys with parts small enough to be swallowed and toys with sharp points or edges. Be careful - a long string or cord on a pull toy should not exceed 12 inches, because it may become wrapped around a child's neck and cause choking.

Three-year-old children are explorers who want large action toys such as rocking horses, cars and wagons to push and pull around. Parents must still guard against sharp edges and small, removable parts that can be swallowed - including marbles, beads and coins.

Four-year-old children are eager to play grown-up with dolls, trucks, tractors and building blocks. It's too early for toys that cut or playthings that run by electricity. Be careful to buy costumes that are flame retardant and toys that match your child's strength.

Five and Six year old children enjoy creative play with paints, crayons, blunt scissors and papers. Simple sports equipment provides challenging fun at this age. Arrows and darts should have rubber suction cups or soft protective tips. Check them often to see that the tips are secure. Avoid vehicles that tip over easily or toys that can pinch or cut.

Seven-year-old children test their physical coordination with outdoor sports equipment such as sleds, kites, swings and other playground toys. Inside, playing at a workbench with sturdy but lightweight tools or a furnished doll-house will absorb their interest. At this age, your child can also play with simple, UL-labeled electrical toys. Avoid skateboards, sharp-edged tools and toys that shoot sharp-pointed projectiles.

Eight to twelve-year-old children are fascinated with hobbies such as photography, playing musical instruments and all kinds of collections. A responsible adult should always be there to supervise games with darts, bows and arrows, air rifles or chemistry sets. Children at this age should be taught to work with more sophisticated electrical toys and tools.


Teach older children to keep toys designed for them away from younger children. Tool sets or hobby items are dangerous in the wrong hands. Even simple toys like uninflated balloons can cause choking if a young child tries to swallow it.

Teach children to put toys away. Leaving play things on sidewalks and stairs can cause falls.

Keep toys and play equipment in good repair. Discard toys that can't be made safe.



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Orange County, California

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