Injury Prevention

Holiday Toy Safety

By: Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA

If you are like me, playing with your child is often a highlight of the holidays. From when my children were very young to their teenage years, I enjoyed teaching them how to ride a bike, play chess, and even assemble their first circuit board. However, as every parent or caregiver learns, toy safety should be top of mind. There are a few common guidelines to follow when choosing toys to make sure children remain safe and injury free.

  • Follow the age on the warning labels on toys for young kids. These labels are there to warn you about choking hazards and are not about how advanced your child may be.
  • Check the toys that you give to young children to make sure that you have reviewed them for any choking hazards. As a good measure, parts than can break off or detach that are small enough to fit inside an empty toilet paper roll are choking hazards.
  • Make sure toys for older children are not left around where younger children can get them. Make it a habit for kids to pick up their toys and put them away.
  • If you get your child a riding toy such as a bike, skateboard, scooter, or roller skates, get them a helmet too! When they ride, make sure that they wear the helmet.
  • Toys with small magnetic connecting parts pose a danger if swallowed. Serious medical complications have resulted for children of all ages. These toys are not recommended for young children.
  • When shopping online, make sure the toys that you buy are safe and have not been recalled. Sign up for toy recall notices on and check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Learn more about the added challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses for toy safety during this holiday season in the Public Interest Research Group’s annual Trouble in Toyland report.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you will lessen the risk of injury.

Each year more than 200,000 children under age 15 are seen in emergency rooms for toy related injuries, and half of these kids were under the age of 5.

Be safe this holiday season.

Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, is the executive director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center.

To sign up to receive E-Updates from Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health, click here.

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