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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 U.S. safety standards

A special safety note about walkers:

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

  • 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 or 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.

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