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Toy Safety - Identifying High-Risk Situations

Scooter injury is the most common cause of toy-related injury and death.

Toys to avoid:

The following toys are not appropriate for infants:

  • toys that hang in cribs and playpens with strings longer than seven inches
  • toys that are small enough to become lodged in an infant's throat
  • plastic wrapping from toys, which itself is a suffocation hazard

The following toys are not appropriate for children ages 3 and under:

  • small toys or toys with removal parts that can become lodged in the child's throat (for example, a stuffed animal with loose eyes, game pieces, batteries, or marbles)
  • toys with breakable or loose parts (for example, toys with small wheels, or action figures with removable pieces)
  • latex balloons
  • plastic wrapping from toys, which itself is a suffocation hazard

Infants and toddlers should never be given toys with any of the following:

  • parts that could pull off
  • exposed wires
  • parts that get hot
  • painted lead paint
  • toxic materials
  • breakable parts
  • sharp points or edges
  • glass or brittle parts
  • springs, gears, or hinged parts that could pinch or trap fingers

The following toys are not appropriate for children ages 8 and under:

  • toys with sharp points or edges
  • electrical toys with heating elements (for example, a toy oven set)
  • toys that contain toxic substances (for example, certain art sets)
  • toys that can trap fingers
  • shooting and/or loud toys (such as bb guns, cap guns, or air guns)
  • toys that may contain lead paint (usually older toys purchased at garage sales or flea markets)
  • toys that do not adhere to US safety standards

A special safety note about walkers:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages the use of walkers for the following reasons:

  • In 2003, an estimated 3,200 children were treated for baby-walker related injuries.
  • Babies in walkers can fall over objects or fall down stairs, and may roll into pools, heaters, and hot stoves.
  • The use of walkers is associated with poisoning, especially in infants under 9 months of age. The walker puts a young infant at a level where they can reach household chemicals before they are mobile, and before many parents have baby-proofed their homes.
  • These devices do not facilitate walking or faster/advanced mobility and may actually hinder certain motor development skills such as pulling-up, crawling, and creeping.
  • Walkers give babies extra momentum to break through barriers such as safety gates, resulting in thousands of head injuries each year.

Note: Many manufacturers now make stationery walkers that allow babies to sit in place. These are a safer alternative to the moveable walkers. However, many physicians still believe that all walkers are unacceptable. Consult your child's physician for more information.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Safety & Injury Prevention

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