Bring joy with a safe toy this holiday season

December 10, 2013

Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin wants families to be safe when shopping for toys this holiday season. Selecting the right toy can be a challenge and although they are intended for fun, they can pose hazards if not handled by an age-appropriate user.

A report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) estimated there were 265,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2012. Of those injured, approximately 72 percent were children younger than 15 years of age.

If your shopping list includes the names of a few good boys or girls, BBB offers the following advice to ensure that the toys you give are safe:

  • Find out which toys have been recalled. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at If the toy or product has been recalled, check the guidelines for what to do next. 
  • Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Toy safety isn't only about avoiding recalled products - you also need to make sure you’re buying appropriate toys for the age of the child. Read and follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy. 
  • Read labels. Look for information like, “Not recommended for children under 3,” and for other safety labels including “Flame retardant” or “Flame resistant” on fabric products.
  • Be cautious of older toys or hand-me-downs. Safety recalls don’t expire; so while buying a gently used toy might be cost effective, it’s important to check product recalls regularly.
  • Be careful when shopping online. Internet toy vendors may not be as vigilant as brick–and-mortar stores about removing recalled products. Be sure to double-check they toy you’re purchasing hasn’t been flagged as a recall.

Besides knowing how to purchase toys that are safe, it’s important to be aware of safety hazards once the toys have been opened. Once toys are opened, CPSC suggests you:

Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before they become dangerous play things.

Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.

Supervise all battery charging. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

Toy Recall Hotlines:

Consumer Products Safety Commission: (800) 638-2772