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 infants

Avoid these toys if you have infants:

  • Toys that hang in cribs and playpens with strings longer than 7 inches

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

  • Plastic wrapping from toys is a suffocation hazard

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

Avoid these toys if you have children 3 years old or younger: 

  • 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 is a suffocation hazard

Infants and toddlers should never be given toys with any of the following

Avoid 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

  • 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)

  • Toys that can trap fingers

  • Shooting 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 don't follow 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. This can also be before many parents have baby-proofed their homes.

  • These devices don't make walking faster or advance mobility. 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 stationery walkers that allow babies to sit in place. These are a safer alternative to the moveable walkers. However, many healthcare providers still believe that all walkers are unacceptable. Talk with your child's healthcare provider for more information.