Holiday Safety Tips with Dr. Courtney: Shopping for Toys

This holiday season, keep safety in mind when picking out toys to give as gifts to the children in your life. Choosing the right toy can help to prevent avoidable injuries and keep kids safe as they enjoy this festive season.

What to Consider When Buying Toys as Gifts for the Holidays

When purchasing toys as gifts for the holidays, always consider the age of the child who will be receiving the gift. Most toys will be labeled with a recommended age range for children receiving the toy. This recommendation is based on the complexity of the toy, as well as characteristics of the toy such as sharp edges, dangling cords, or small, loose parts that could potentially be swallowed.

When shopping for electronic toys, look for ones that are “UL Certified.” UL is a non-profit organization that tests children’s toys to meet specific safety standards. All UL Certified children’s products will feature a certification mark somewhere on the packaging.

What Toys Should be Avoided Altogether?

Avoid toys made from thin plastic or weak materials. These could break during regular play and create sharp edges that can lead to cuts or scrapes. Dolls and stuffed animals often come with clothing and miniature accessories that can become a choking hazard. Make sure that all parts of a toy are sturdy and secure.

Avoid toys that launch or shoot objects as these can lead to a serious eye injury. The small projectiles can also become a choking hazard to both children and pets who may find these lying around.

Avoid toys that do not have clear and specific “non-toxic” labeling. Materials such as paints, fibers, and stuffing could potentially carry toxins and pose a risk to small children.

Avoid toys that focus on making loud noises. These have the potential to damage the hearing of small children if misused.

Finally, avoid toys that have been recently recalled by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. To find a list of all recent recalls, visit online at

How to Keep Toys Safe Inside the Home

When purchasing crib toys or mobiles for an infant, always remember to keep hanging ribbons, charms, or decorations out of reach of children. As a child grows older and can stand on their own within the crib, consider removing the mobile entirely to avoid injury.

Spend time with your kids the first time a new toy is introduced. This can help you identify any potential health hazards with the toy and allow you to instruct your child on the safest way to handle the toy.

Stress the importance of putting toys away when they are not being used. Though the toy may not be dangerous on its own, it has the potential to become a tripping hazard if left out in the dark. In addition to this, families with multiple children of varying ages should teach older kids to be mindful of leaving their toys unattended, where their younger siblings may be able to reach these.

Remember to use caution this holiday season to avoid injury and to make every day merry and bright. Learn more about holiday safety with these blogs on Cooking and Meal Preparation and Decorating Around the House.

Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.