Choosing age appropriate toys helps reduce injuries

| December 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

Lisa J. Young
U.S. Army Public Health Command

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — This season, choose toys that will make the holiday season a safe one.

Toys should be a source of fun and learning for children. Too often toys with poor design, toys that are too old for a child, or toys in bad repair can lead to serious and or fatal injuries.

When choosing a toy, make sure to match the toy to the child’s abilities. A toy that is too advanced or too simple for a child may be misused which can lead to injury.

Keep in mind these handy tips when shopping for holiday toys:

  • Think “big” when choosing toys. All toy parts should be larger than the child’s mouth to prevent choking and other injuries. Never give any toy with small parts to a child under the age of 3, and keep small parts away from older children who still put toys in their mouths. Make sure small parts of larger toys cannot break off.
  • Keep deflated or broken balloons away from children. Suddenly, if inhaled, they can cause suffocation.
  • Read the instructions before buying a toy. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
  • Hold noisemaking toys next to your own ear to determine whether it will be too loud for a young child.
  • Look for sturdy toy construction. The eyes, nose and other small parts on soft toys and stuffed animals should be securely fastened.
  • Avoid toys with sharp edges. Ensure that tips of arrows and darts are blunt, made of soft rubber or plastic, and securely fastened to the shaft.
  • Reserve hobby kits, such as chemistry sets, for a child older than 12. Provide proper supervision for children ages 12-15.

Safety Recalls

For information on recent recalls and product safety news, visit U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at or the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website at


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