Selecting Age-Appropriate and Safe Toys for Children

Based on the studies presented by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2020, approximately 198,000 toy-related injuries were treated in the U.S. hospital emergency departments. Most of the injuries, about 75%, occurred in children aged 14 years or younger, and 73% of these were in children aged 12 or younger, with 40% in children aged 4 or younger. Thus, it is important to select safe toys for your children. 

When selecting toys for children, always prioritize safety. Young kids are naturally curious and love to explore their world through play. As parents or caregivers, you must ensure that the toys they interact with are safe and age-appropriate. This guide will walk you through the essential steps of choosing toys that are not only fun and engaging but also free from choking hazards and other potential dangers.

Age-Appropriate Toys

When selecting toys, consider your child’s age and developmental stage. Toy packaging bases age recommendations on children’s abilities. For infants and toddlers, choose toys with large, safe designs that stimulate their senses with colors, textures, and sounds. As children grow, choose toys that promote creativity, problem-solving, and physical activity, aligning with their cognitive and physical development.

  • Safety Standards: Look for toys meeting recognized safety standards like ASTM or CE certification, ensuring they are free from harmful chemicals, sharp edges, and made from non-toxic materials.
  • Choking Hazards: Avoid small parts and button batteries, especially for children under three. Regularly inspect toys for damage.
  • Non-Toxic Materials: Choose toys made from BPA-free plastics, lead-free paints, and phthalate-free substances to prevent harm if ingested or inhaled.
  • Sturdy Construction: Prioritize sturdy toys to withstand rough play and avoid sharp edges. Check stuffed toys for securely attached parts.
  • Cord Safety: Beware of cords or strings, keeping them under 7 inches and securely fastened to prevent entanglement.
  • Supervision and Storage: Always supervise playtime and establish safe toy storage routines to reduce tripping hazards and unsupervised access.
  • Education and Communication: Teach children about responsible toy usage, especially not sharing small toys with younger siblings and reporting damaged toys.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on toy recalls and safety alerts via organizations like the CPSC to ensure safe toys at home.

What toys are best for your child?

Infants (0-12 months)

  • Rattles: Infants are attracted to sounds. A soft, lightweight rattle with large handles is perfect for little hands to grasp.
  • Soft Stuffed Animals: Simple stuffed animals without small parts are comforting and provide tactile stimulation.
  • High-Contrast Toys: Babies can see high-contrast patterns better. Consider black and white or brightly colored toys.

Check our recommended toys for Infants:

iPlay, iLearn 10pcs Baby Rattles Toys Setsafe toys

These rattles offer various grips, shapes, and textures to enhance motor skills and sensory development. Ideal for baby showers and nursery care, they come in a hygienic container and are great stroller toys.
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SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattlesafe toys

This patented toy lights up in red, blue, and green, stimulating vision and tracking skills, with a gentle rattle sound and an easy-to-hold handle. This versatile toy helps parents, caregivers, and therapists nurture early milestones and includes a parent guide for tracking.
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Gund Baby Animated Flappy The Elephant Plush

safe toysThis adorable singing elephant springs to life at the touch of a button, offering two engaging play modes for babies. It now boasts enhanced audio and adjustable volume controls for a personalized play experience, suitable for ages 0+. With interactive play – press his right foot to hear a playful new song in a child’s voice while his ears flap to the rhythm!
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Melissa & Doug Burrow Bunny Rabbit Stuffed Animal

safe toysA cuddly bunny with floppy ears and super-soft fur, designed with realistic details. Handcrafted from premium materials, it’s both huggable and durable. This stuffed rabbit offers kids multiple play options. They can snuggle during story time, engage in imaginative play, or even read stories to their furry friend.
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Richgv Baby Books Toys High Contrast Black and White Books

Richgv’s baby books are captivating and safe gifts for both boys and girls. They’re filled with textures, vibrant and colors, providing hours of fun and learning for newborns to toddlers. Each book features sensory elements like squeaky bubbles, crinkle pages, and mirrors, supporting development. Designed for various age ranges, from newborns to 18 months, they adapt to your child’s growth.
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Tummy Time Baby Mirror Infant Toys

These baby toys are designed for brain development during tummy time. They feature a baby mirror and a soft book with high contrast patterns, perfect for a baby’s visual development. These toys also help prevent flat head and strengthen leg and arm muscles for crawling preparation.
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Toddlers (1-3 years)

  • Building Blocks: Large, soft building blocks encourage creativity and help develop fine motor skills.
  • Puzzles with Large Pieces: Puzzles with chunky, easy-to-grasp pieces promote problem-solving.
  • Push and Pull Toys: Toys they can push or pull while walking help with balance and coordination.

Check our recommended toys for Toddlers:

Magnetic Tiles Building Blocks

Gemmicc Magnetic Tiles offer safety and durability with non-toxic ABS plastic and rounded corners. Our advanced ultrasonic welding ensures flawless construction. Our set contains 98 magnet tiles, 2 magnetic cars, and an idea book, providing excellent value. These STEM-approved toys enhance fine motor skills, color recognition, and creativity
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Mega Bloks Fisher-Price Toddler Block Toys

This building set includes 80 durable large building blocks, making it the top preschool building toy in the U.S.A. It comes with a reusable storage bag for convenient cleanup and is compatible with all MEGA BLOKS building toys, offering endless learning opportunities. Endorsed by Fisher-Price and suitable for ages 1+, these blocks foster imagination and fine motor skills development.
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Montessori Mama Wooden Toddler Puzzles

These puzzles help children develop cognitive skills by solving jigsaw puzzles, counting numbers, and improving hand-eye coordination. They are safe for toddlers aged 2-4. Learning through play, these puzzles promote spatial awareness, fine motor skills, concentration, shape recognition, memory, and self-confidence.
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Bekayshad Wooden Puzzles for Toddler

The 6 puzzles feature animals like bears, ladybugs, butterflies, owls, bees, and frogs, fostering patience, imagination, concentration, and hand-eye coordination. Sized for little hands at 5.8 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches, they’re too big to swallow. These puzzles make great gifts, encouraging sensory stimulation and brain development, and come with a service guarantee for customer satisfaction.
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VTech Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer

This bulldozer push toy rolls and pops balls out of its chimney when the handle is pushed. It also features buttons for learning colors, numbers, phrases, and music. As the bulldozer rolls, motion sensors activate fun tunes and songs, promoting attention and coordination. With a chunky handle, it encourages motor skill development and includes assorted color balls.
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Bubble Lawn Mower for Toddlers Push Backyard Toys

This toy encourages imagination, creativity, and the development of essential skills like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and social interaction. It also comes with LED lights for nighttime use and can create a bubbly atmosphere at various events, making it a versatile and thoughtful gift for toddlers.
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Preschoolers (3-5 years)

  • Art Supplies: Crayons, markers, and finger paints encourage creativity and fine motor skills.
  • Dress-up Clothes: Pretend play with costumes fosters imagination and social skills.
  • Simple Board Games: Games like “Candy Land” or “Chutes and Ladders” teach turn-taking and counting.

Check our recommended toys for Preschoolers:

Little Chubby One 8 Color Kids Play Sand Set

safe toysLittle Chubby One’s 5-pound 8-color sand set is perfect for creative play with sea animal shapes. It includes 10 plastic molds and holds its shape, providing sensory stimulation and fine motor skill development. The high-quality tray with a road design enhances imaginative play.
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Crayola Washable Paint

safe toysThis set includes 12 washable paints in 16-ounce squeeze bottles, ideal for various art projects, parties, and crafts. The vibrant colors allow for eye-catching artwork, and the paints are blendable to create unique hues. They are washable from skin, walls, and most washable clothing. These non-toxic paints are safe for kids ages 3 and up.
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Thames & Kosmos Kids First Aircraft Engineer

safe toysThis engineering kit is designed for preschoolers and features an amusing story about Karlie and Ty Omega, two curious kids who build aircraft models during a family vacation. The story guides you to build the 10 vehicles mentioned. The kit includes large, colorful plastic building pieces suitable for small hands. It has received the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for its educational value.
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Hasbro Perfection Game for Preschoolers

safe toysThe Perfection game is a fast-paced shape-matching game for kids aged 5 and up. Players race against the clock to fit shapes into matching holes before time runs out and the pieces pop. It’s a fun way for children to practice shape recognition. The game is easy to set up, can be played solo or with friends, and is designed for repeated play with easy storage.
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School-Age Children (6-12 years)

  • Construction Sets: Building kits with more intricate pieces challenge problem-solving and spatial skills.
  • Science Kits: Age-appropriate science kits can spark curiosity and a love for learning.
  • Books: Encourage reading with age-appropriate books that match their reading level and interests.

Check our recommended toys for School-Age Children:

Mega Pokémon Jumbo Eevee Toy Building Set

This large-scale Eevee building set is over 11 inches tall, featuring poseable ears, legs, and tail. It can be posed standing or sitting and is compatible with other building sets, offering versatility. Recommended for ages 6 and up, it encourages creativity and problem-solving skills through build-and-play experiences.
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Goobi 180 Piece Magnetic Building Sticks

This set includes 180 pieces, including 84 bars, 61 balls, 35 tripods, and a 32-page instruction booklet, all in vibrant rainbow colors. It promotes creativity, fine motor skills, and STEM learning. Goobi products are made from high-quality ABS plastic, ensuring strong connections for large-scale structures. They have received numerous awards and meet safety standards, including non-toxic and BPA-free materials.
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Japace 4-in-1 Science Kits for Kids

This 4-in-1 kids’ science kit offers 105 experiments, including volcano, fossil digging, gemstone, and crystal growing kits, promoting scientific knowledge and a love for science. It encourages children to explore and discover, reducing screen time and enhancing hands-on, creative skills. Kids build a real science lab experience, fostering a lasting appreciation for science.
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Soap & Bath Bomb Making Kit for Kids

This comprehensive kit allows you to create 10 soaps, 10 bath bombs, salt scrubs, and fizzy bath salts. You can mix and match colors for beautiful, multi-layered creations. The kit includes all the necessary ingredients and tools, such as citric acid, baking soda, fragrances, molds, and more. It’s a fun and educational way to explore science while making delightful bath products.
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While toys bring joy and enrichment to a child’s life, their safety should always be a top priority. By following these guidelines and staying vigilant, you can create a safe environment for your child to explore, learn, and play without unnecessary risks. Selecting safe toys is a vital aspect of a happy and healthy childhood.

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