Attorney General's Office
Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Washington, D.C. 20207
The American Toy Institute, Inc./Toy Manufacturers of America
200 Fifth Avenue, Suite 740
4TOY-SAFETY Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
236 Route 38 West
Read Labels: All toys for children under three should be properly labeled for recommended age usage. Manufacturers age recommendations on four criteria: the ability of a child to physically manipulate and play with the features of a toy; the ability of a child to understand how to use a toy; the child's play needs and interest at different developmental levels; and safety considerations.
Material Importance: Detachable clothing on toys generally is not recommended for children under three years of age. Likewise, look for such information as "flame retardant" or "flame resistant" on any fabric products and be sure stuffed toys are filled with soft, pure stuffing
It's the Little Things In Life! Because children generally three years of age and younger have a tendency to put objects in their mouths, it is especially important to examine toys for small parts. The general rule is this: if an object or part can fit into the cardboard roll of bathroom tissue, it is too small. All toys made for children between 3-6 years old are required to provide warnings about any choking hazards.
Watch Those Cords! Toys with long strings and cords can pose choking and strangulation hazards to small children and infants. This is especially true of objects meant to be hung near, on or above baby cribs and playpens. Remove crib gyms when a child is 5 months old or has the ability to pull up on hands and knees.
Flying Object Warning: Toys meant for flying or that include propelled objects are easily turned into weapons and can injure an eye: be sure to check for protective tips, such as soft cork tips and rubber suction cups and ensure that tips to these objects are securely installed.
Paint Labeling: Make sure all painted toys and those that include art objects use non-toxic paint. If the label fails to give this information, think twice about buying it!
Sharp Warning: Toys with sharp edges or points are not advisable for children under the age 8. Be careful of stuffed toys with wires inside that could poke through and cut a child.
Electric Fun: Look for the "Underwriters Laboratory" approval label on all toys with electric components. As a general rule, electric toys with heating elements are not recommended for children under eight years of age.
Quality Counts: Look for sturdy construction, including tightly sewn seams and attached eyes and noses on all toys, especially stuffed animals. Durable products made of strong material also better withstand any chewing by children.
Toy Chests: storage chests should have removable lids or a spring-loaded support in order to keep the lid securely open. They should also have ventilation holes.
Baby Walkers: must meet one of the following standards to protect against a child's falling down stairs: (1) it must be too wide to fit through a standard doorway; or (2) it must have features, such as a gripping mechanism, to stop the walker at the edge of a step. A great alternative is a stationary activity center that does not have wheels.
Remember, precaution in picking out proper toys can never replace appropriate adult supervision!