How can I tell if a toy is safe?

No matter the occasion, you may invest a lot of time hunting down a perfect toy for your children.

It is important for you not to forget in the midst of your hunt to ask whether the toy you ultimately pick is safe. Many times, dangerous toys get put on the market, and even caring parents buy them, wrongly assuming that they wouldn’t be sold if they were dangerous.

With this in mind, there are certain things you can do to check out whether a toy is safe both before and after your purchase it.

Check for recalls 

Even after you buy the toy you want for your kids, you need to check from time to time to see if it is subject to a recall.

A recall entails the manufacturer either offering a refund or taking some other step, like replacing or fixing the toy, after a danger gets discovered.

Manufacturers won’t call you personally in the event of a recall. The recall announcement will come via press releases and other general announcements to the broader public.

So, you need to pay attention to news reports and may even want to make a habit of checking with government agencies like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if any of your kids’ toys have been recalled.

If it turns out your child’s toy has been recalled, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for either fixing or disposing of the defective product.

Read the warning labels  

Warning labels are on toys to make absolutely certain you know what could possibly go wrong when your children use their new toy.

If a specific danger gets mentioned on a warning label, it is because even the toy’s manufacturer knows that the danger is likely enough to be worth mentioning to the public.

You should resist any temptation to write off the warning labels as restatements of the obvious.  Instead, you should read each warning carefully, all the while asking yourself if, knowing the potential dangers, you really want to take the chance on buying the toy.

Likewise, reading the toy’s instructions, including the guidance about what ages of children the toy is suitable for, can give you some idea of how safe a toy is overall or even the specific dangers a toy presents.

Read the reviews 

The fact manufacturers don’t recall a toy or don’t warn about particular risks associated with using a toy does not mean a toy is safe. Furthermore, you may not find out about recalls or be able to read the toy’s warning labels until after you buy the toy.

A great way to decide whether a toy is safe for your child before investing too much time or money is to read up on the toy beforehand, particularly noting what other people, both parents and toy experts, are saying about the product.

Most retailers with an online presence allow those who bought the same toy to post reviews, and parents can read these before choosing to buy a toy themselves. You can also visit or other websites to get the opinions of those in the know when it comes to issues related to toys.

Use your own good sense 

Finally, even if everything else checks out, the decision to buy a toy for your children is ultimately yours.  After all, you are the one who knows your children best, and a toy that might be just fine in the hands of all the neighborhood kids might present a safety issue for your child.

If you notice anything about the toy that concerns you, or even if you just have a nagging feeling that the toy you’ve chosen isn’t safe for your kids, you should think twice before buying the toy.