The Scoop on Unsafe Toys

Get the facts and safeguard your child's well-being.

Each year, more than 120,000 children under the age of 14 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Even innocent-looking toys -- such as marbles and balloons -- can present a choking hazard to small children. The Child Safety Protection Act, a federal toy-labeling law, requires manufacturers to place warning labels on toys that pose a choking hazard to young children.

When selecting a toy for your child, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends you avoid the following:

1. Toys with small, removable parts: Small parts can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a small parts tester (a plastic tube you can buy at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy or part. If the piece fits entirely inside the tube, then it's considered a choking hazard.

2. Toys with sharp points or edges: Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.

3. Toys that make loud noises: Noisemaking toys, such as toy guns and high-volume portable cassette recorders, can permanently impair a child's hearing.

4. Propelled toy darts and other projectiles: Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.

5. Toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than seven inches: Long strings and cords could wrap around a child's neck and strangle him.

6. Toys painted with lead-based paint: Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child's brain, kidneys, and nervous system.

7. Toy cap guns: Paper roll, strip, or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction, and can cause serious burns.

Source: The National SAFE KIDS Campaign

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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