Most toys on the market today are carefully made and safe to play with. Manufacturers have to conform
to strict Europe-wide toy safety standards. But toys can still be hazardous if you don't take care
over what you give you child. Heed the following advice.
• To be quite sure of safety, get your toys from a retailer with a good reputation for toys or
buy only recognised brand names.
• Follow the age recommendations on the packaging - they are there for a reason. most are
intended to give you a guide to the toy's 'fun factor' suitability for children of specific ages,
but any warning stating that a toy is unsuitable for children under three, for example, must
be taken seriously as this indicated that the toy may be unsafe for younger children because of small parts.
• Look for the 'Lion mark' - this is a mark of quality and safety used by manufacturers who are
members of the British Toy and Hobby Association - the main toy trade association in the UK.
• The 'CE' mark is another symbol you may see on toy packaging - this is a mandatory mark
that must appear on toys sold within the EU and shows that toys conform to EU laws and can
be sold throughout the EU (although the mark does not mean the toy has been inependently
tested for safety). Be wary of products that are 'toy-like' butdon't have this mark
(novelties for example) - they may not be safe for young children to play with.
• Take special care buying second-hand toys and check for broken or small, loose parts.
• Once you have bought a toy, dispose of the packaging carefully - although fascinating to young
children, it could harbour unseen hazzards such as staples or sharp wire.
If you let your child play with the packaging, inspect it carefully first.
Ensuring playground safety
• Remove bulky toys or activity centres from the cot as soon as your child can stand,
as they can provide a foothold for climbing out.
• Make sure any toys attached to the cot are on a very short piece of string,
otherwise they could be a strangulation risk.
• Keep very furry soft toys away from your baby - the fur could be a choking hazzard.
(The official guidance relating to "long fibres" is that these toys shouldn't be played
with by children under 18 months, and wording to this effect should appear on the label.
Many manufacturers, however use the more general recommendation of 'not for children under
three' - see next point.)
• Check that eyes, noses, bells and other trinkets on soft toys are firmly attached and
remove any ribbons. Objects that are small enough for babies to put in their mouths are
regarded as a choking risk until the age of about three, when children have less need to
explore things with their mouths.
• Keep toys for older children separate from those for younger children.
Caring for Toys
• Use a toy box - toys lying on the floor are serious tripping hazard.
• Throw away broken or partially broken toys.
• Keep batteries out of the reach of children and don't mix them - new batteries can make the older ones very hot.
What? Toy Guide