Health Topic Categories

- Pediatrics -

November 11th, 2012

Toy Safety Tips

Since the season is upon us when children receive an increased number of toys, the Erie County Medical Society wants to keep you up to date on the following toy safety tips.



  • Read and heed all warning labels regarding safe toy assembly and use.
    Promptly discard all toy packaging such as plastic wrap, foam, staples and twist ties that can case a child to suffocate or choke.



  • Avoid small toys or toys with small parts for children under age 3. Toys or parts that can pass through a toilet paper tube, are unsafe for any child who still puts things in his/her mouth.
    Never give young children small balls or balloons as they can completely block a child’s airway. Balls for children under 6 years old must be more than 1.75 inches in diameter.
    Inspect squeeze toys to determine that the small squeakers or reeds are not removable.
    Check that toy cars and trucks do not have wheels, tires or other small parts that are loose or removable.
    Ascertain that stuffed toys do not have eyes, nose and other small parts that can be pulled off.



  • A balloon can be inhaled and can block a child’s airway
    Keep uninflated latex balloons, out of the reach of children and immediately discard broken balloon pieces.



  • Keep mobiles out of the reach of children in cribs and remove them before the baby is five months old or can push him/herself up.
    Remove knobs and beads from cords longer than one foot to prevent the cords from tangling into a dangerous loop.
    Stretchy or sticky cords are a particular strangulation hazard.
    Clothing with drawstrings on the hood can tangle on fixed objects and pose a strangulation hazard.



  • Magnetic items are hazardous if the item or the magnet itself, is small enough to be swallowed. If a child swallows more than one magnet, the magnets can attract one another in the stomach and intestines causing life-threatening complications.
    If a child swallows, or is suspected to have swallowed, even one magnet, seek immediate medical attention.



  • Keep batteries, especially “disc” batteries away from children. If swallowed, the battery acid can cause fatal internal injuries.
    Only adults should install batteries. Improper installation or mixing different battery types can cause battery leakage or overheating, which can result in injury.
    Make certain that young children cannot open a toy’s battery compartment.



  • If a toy seems too loud for your ears, it is probably too loud for a child. Take the batteries out of loud toys or cover the speakers with tape.



  • While lead and phthalates are generally absent from newer toys, older toys may still contain them.
    Toys made of PVC plastic could contain toxic phthalates posing developmental hazards; unpainted wooden toys are a better option.
    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has found high levels of lead paint on toys, in vinyl lunch boxes, and in children’s costume jewelry. Remove all lead from a child’s environment. Testing items for lead is easy and economical with a home lead tester available at hardware stores and online.
    Avoid products with xylene, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.



Store toys and games for older children separately from those for younger children.
Use a toy box with no lid, or one with a lightweight lid that will not fall on or trap a child.



  • Make sure that the ride-on toy will not tip when weight is placed on any riding point.



  • A walker increases the propensity for accident by increasing the child’s mobility and reach. They are illegal in some countries.
    Avoid falls down stairs by making sure that doors or gates at the top of stairs are closed.
    Avoid tip-overs by ascertaining that the area of use is smooth and clear of carpet edges, door thresholds and other impediments that can cause a walker to tip over.
    Always keep a child in a walker away from swimming pools and other areas of water.

The Erie County Medical Society hopes that you find these tips useful in insuring that the children in your life enjoy their new toys safely and happily.


Thomas Falasca, DO

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