How to determine what toy is appropriate for your child

Appropriate Toys for Your Child

At Swedish Hospital, we know the wellness benefits of gift-giving, and we recognize that toys are an essential part of a child’s development. As the holidays approach, toy sales skyrocket, but with a vast spectrum of products available to shoppers, it’s prudent to understand which are safe for your child’s specific circumstances. 

Educational toys are best used when they cultivate relationships and promote creativity. When choosing a toy for a child, it is important to keep in mind that the toy should not only be safe, but also developmentally appropriate.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were approximately 256,700 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2013, with 73% of those injuries sustained by children under 15 years old. 

To avoid unnecessary harm, ask yourself these questions before buying a toy:

1. Is the toy age and skill-level appropriate?

Follow the guidelines provided on the packaging and do not assume that anyone is an exception to them. 

2. Are there any loose parts small enough for a child to swallow?

If the piece is small enough to fit in a toilet paper roll then it is too small for a three year old! Loose pieces include items that are often overlooked, such as magnets and batteries.

3. Does the toy have a string, ribbon, straps or a cord?

All of these are strangulation hazards and should be avoided for young children.

You should also investigate whether a toy contains questionable chemicals or whether it has a safety recall on it. There are a number of reliable sites that make this information free to the public

With care, the holidays can be a time of relaxation and fun. When in doubt, always ask a pediatric medical professional for advice.

By David Modica | Published December 3, 2015
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