Safe Toys, Gifts & Tips - For The Holidays

Last Editorial Review: 11/30/2004

As families gather for the holidays, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers that dangerous children's products may still be in their homes. Grandparents dust off old playpens; older children often share their toys with younger relatives; and keepsakes are stored in old cedar chests. The CPSC (and wants to prevent these holiday traditions from becoming tragedies. Despite recall notices and public warnings, CPSC has found that many products with the potential to seriously injure or kill are still being used by consumers. Families should check whether old products have been recalled and place them out of the reach of children. Manufacturers will usually offer a free repair kit or replacement product.

The following tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys:

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
  • For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
  • Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.
  • For all children under age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
  • Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
  • Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and when appropriate, to the child.
  • Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.
For important safety information, please read the following articles:

  • Crib & Toy Tips for Baby
  • Holiday Safety Tips - Avoid Fires and Injuries

Portions of the above information has been provided with the kind permission of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (

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