Toy Safety

Most parents and grandparents enjoy buying toys for children. However, some toys can be more hazardous than fun. Caution should be taken when buying toys or receiving toys for your child from friends and relatives. A toy that is a lot of fun for a five year-old can become very dangerous in the hands of a one year-old.

A major danger to infants and small children when they are playing with toys is choking. Small toys or parts of toys can break off and end up in a child’s mouth, creating a choking hazard. When purchased, toys should have an age recommendation on the packaging, though you should never assume this to be 100% accurate for all children. In Canada there is a report produced by the Canadian Toy Testing Council that is published every year in the fall. The Toy Report is a useful volume that covers toys for children aged newborn to ten years old. It is available at large magazine stands and you should be able to find a copy of it at the library.


1. General Tips for Toy Safety


One toy I came across was a stuffed dog with a hard plastic nose. The nose was attached to the dog by a sharp serrated piece of metal which was easily pulled out.



2. Tricycles and Other Toddler Riding Toys

Once a child has mastered a tricycle or a riding toy, they are very mobile, they can move very rapidly, and injuries can happen very quickly. Riding toys are fun; make them safe fun.


3. Hand-crafted Toys and Gifts

Hand-crafted toys and gifts are fun to receive, but they must also be safe. Because of their uniqueness and because they are usually made by local craftspersons, they are not covered in the Canadian Toy Testing Council’s report. As a parent, you must rely on the sensibilities and knowledge of the toy maker, and your own awareness of what makes a safe toy. Manufacturers and vendors of hand-crafted toys are responsible for ensuring that these items are safe and meet the requirements of the Hazardous Products Act.

The Hazardous Products Act and Regulations are intended to reduce hidden dangers to consumers. Of special concern are mechanical hazards which could result in poisoning or injury if materials are ingested or in contact with skin; and flammability hazards associated with the materials used to make the toy or gift. Whether you are a craftsperson making one special item for a child in your family, or are producing toys and gifts for the marketplace, make them safe.

When you are purchasing, or when you are designing and crafting toys, keep these points in mind:


Copyright 1995 Safety Health Publishing Inc.

Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter / paramedic and best selling author of the book "Kids for Keeps: Preventing Injuries to Children". Martin speaks across North America on the topic of injury prevention. His talks are humorous, but still have a strong underlying safety message. For more information, call him at (403) 225 – 2011 or visit his website at