The Toy Association Statement on Toy Safety, Age Grading and Small Parts

U.S. toy safety standards are among the toughest in the world and U.S. toymakers are committed to ensuring the safety of the toys they produce. It is equally important that parents and caregivers take an active role in ensuring safe and fun play.

When selecting toys this holiday season and throughout the year, shoppers are encouraged to keep the following safety tips top-of-mind:

At the store/online::

  • Check and follow age guidance and other safety information on packaging (age grading is based largely on safety and not on how smart a child may be).

  • Avoid toys with small parts for children under age three (3) and those who mouth objects.

  • Inspect toys at the store; look for sturdy parts and tightly secured joints.

  • For children less than 18 months of age, avoid toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than twelve (12) inches (the exception is for pull toys, which have several developmental benefits including encouraging crawling and walking, and need a longer string to be functional).

  • Check to see that stuffed toys have age-appropriate features such as embroidered or secured eyes and noses for younger children, and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play.

  • Avoid toys with sharp points or rough edges, especially for younger children.

  • Choose toys that match your child's interests and abilities as well as your family's play environment.

  • Whether shopping online or in store, be sure you are buying from a reputable seller you know and trust. Toys sold by legitimate sellers are tested for compliance with the U.S.’s strict toy safety standard.

  • Exercise due diligence when shopping for toys online. Always be aware of exactly where, and from which seller, you are purchasing toys.

  • We all want to find a good deal on a toy, but safety comes first. If a deal seems too good to be true, the product might be a counterfeit or imitation. A fake toy or cheaper alternative might be unsafe. It’s just not worth the risk.

Once the packages are opened:

  • Read instructions carefully; save directions, warranties, and assembly hardware.

  • Demonstrate the right way to use the toy or game and explain to your child the importance of proper use.

  • Dispose of all unnecessary toy packaging and gift wrap as soon as possible (piles of discarded gift wrap can conceal sharp objects and/or the edges of hard plastic packaging that can cut small fingers).

  • Store toys safely in an easily accessible storage bin; lidded toy storage should be non-locking and have special safety features such as air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught.

  • Warn children of all ages to never put magnets, small batteries, or other small objects in or near their mouths, ears, or noses.

  • Toys that contain batteries are required to have a locking mechanism to prevent a child’s access to them. When inserting or replacing batteries, remember to re-engage the locking mechanism and be careful to never leave batteries out where they are accessible to children, even if you think the batteries are no longer functional.

  • Keep a separate toy chest for older children whose toys may contain small parts; enlist their help in keeping their toys out of the hands of younger siblings.

Throughout the year:

  • Engage grandparents and other caregivers in a discussion about toys and safe play; help them become familiar with these toy safety tips and the importance of age- and interest-appropriate toys.

  • Be a good role model for the safe use of toys and actively supervise your children at all times.

  • Keep stuffed toys out of the cribs of infants and younger children and follow package instructions for the use of mobiles and other toys intended to be used near a crib.

  • Keep toys organized and off stairs or out of high-traffic areas in your home.

  • Keep toys away from unsupervised areas (pools, bathtubs, driveways, or streets with traffic) so they don’t lure a child into a dangerous situation.

  • Instruct older children to keep their toys away from younger siblings.

  • Inspect toys regularly and repair (or replace) damaged or broken parts immediately.

The Toy Association and its members want parents and caregivers to make informed choices about the toys, games, and other products they bring into the home. To help consumers sort through all the information related to toys and play, the Association provides a dedicated website for parents and other consumers. contains up-to-date information on toy safety, recalls, and frequently asked questions, as well as tips on how to shop for toys year-round.

This statement was updated by The Toy Association in September 2023.