How to avoid unsafe toys

It's up to parents to act as the last line of defence against potentially dangerous playthings.
Learn more

02.Toy safety tips

Kids will put toys through their paces and then some, which is why it is important for parents to give them a check-over first. There is no cure-all guide to the many different types of toys, but here are some things to look out for:

  • Use the warning labels - Labels and warnings are often based on legal requirements and safety standards, which means they are there for a good reason. It’s up to you to explain proper use to your child and provide supervision where necessary.
  • Remove the packaging - While the toys themselves might be suitable for a certain age group, often the packaging can present a danger with choking hazards and sharp edges.
  • Loud noises - Toys that make noises can damage hearing if held too close to the ear. Make sure to explain proper use to your children.
  • Large toys - Anything large enough to climb in should have appropriate ventilation. The same rules apply to masks and helmets.
  • Small parts and damaged goods - Small parts that break or can be bitten off are an obvious worry for younger children. However, it’s also important to check old toys for damage, including sharp edges or parts that could trap fingers.

Toys to be weary of

We also asked our expert toy testers to list those toys that have a history of causing trouble.

In some cases, improvements have been made to newer toys of the same breed, but always check that products meet safety requirements and follow any supervision or safety instructions carefully.

Ride-on toys Whether it’s toddler or teenager, there’s no doubt some of the biggest toy-based calamities occur on wheels. Take the appropriate safety precautions to minimise the chance of serious injury.

Baby walkers are designed with adult supervision in mind. Despite this, these toys are often the cause of trips and serious falls.

Swimming aids and flotation devices often look like toys, but require the same level of supervision and diligence as all swimming-related activities. The same goes for baby bath cradles and similar devices.

Beanbags The polystyrene beads in beanbags can present a choking hazard for young children, so take care when using this product if there are young children around.

Toy boxes are great for keeping play areas tidy, but without proper ventilation they can pose a safety risk if children climb inside. Heavy lids that can trap fingers are also a no-no.

Small parts may present a risk for younger children. Be vigilant, and remember that packaging may also pose a risk if not properly disposed.

Lollypops are not a toy but can pose severe risk for children who have them in their mouths while active. Make sure children do not run around with these or other lollies in their mouths.


Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments