Toy Safety—Identifying High-Risk Situations

Ride-on toys are the most common cause of injury, although these are not linked to higher death rates. 

Toys to avoid

The following toys are not appropriate for babies

Don't use these toys if you have babies:

  • Toys that hang in cribs and playpens with strings longer than 7 inches that can strangle a baby

  • Toys that are small enough to become lodged in an infant's throat

  • Plastic wrapping from toys. This can become a suffocation hazard.

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

Don't use these toys if you have children 3 years old or younger: 

  • Small toys or toys with removable parts that can become lodged in a child's throat (for example, a stuffed animal with loose eyes or a squeaker inside the body, 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. This can become a suffocation hazard.

Babies and toddlers should never be given any of these toys

Watch out for toys that have:

  • Parts that could pull off

  • Exposed wires

  • Parts that get hot

  • Lead paint

  • Toxic materials

  • Breakable parts

  • Sharp points or edges

  • Glass or brittle parts

  • Electronic devices with batteries that can be removed

  • Springs, gears, or hinged parts that could pinch or trap fingers

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

Avoid these toys if you have children 8 years old or younger: 

  • 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, craft sets, or chemistry sets)

  • Toys that can trap fingers

  • Shooting or loud toys such as BB guns, cap guns, or air guns

  • Toys that may contain lead paint. These could be older toys bought at garage sales or flea markets.

  • Toys that don't follow U.S. safety standards

  • Electronic toys with batteries that can be removed

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.

  • Walkers are linked to poisoning, especially in babies under 9 months of age. The walker puts a young baby at a level where they can reach household chemicals before they are mobile. This can also be before many parents have baby-proofed their homes.

  • These devices don't help your child start walking early. They may actually slow down the development of certain skills, such as pulling up, crawling, and creeping.

  • Walkers give babies extra force to break through barriers, such as safety gates. This results in thousands of head injuries each year.

Note: Many manufacturers now make stationary walkers that allow babies to sit in place. These are a safer alternative to the moveable walkers. But many healthcare providers still believe that all walkers are unacceptable. Talk with your child's healthcare provider for more information.

Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2020
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