8 Safety Tips on Holiday Toy Gifts

Before you splurge on holiday toy gifts for the little ones in your life, check out Mighty Mommy's 8 essential safety considerations.

Cheryl Butler
2-minute read

It’s exciting to head out and join the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, especially if you're buying toys for children who play a special part in your life.  There are, however, several important safety factors to keep in mind when shopping for young children.

Here are 8 essential considerations for parents and caregivers to keep in mind before they go holiday shopping for this year’s hottest toys and gadgets:

  1. Appropriateness. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.

  2. Choking. Children younger than age 3 are at highest risk for choking. In general, toys small enough to hide inside a cardboard toilet paper roll may present the most risk. Try to avoid these items and stick to larger toys with few detachable parts. Buttons, pull-ties, and snaps can all be detached and ingested by an energetic and determined child. Parents should take care to observe toy manufacturers’ warnings about choking and age appropriateness. 

  3. Packaging. Kids tear into gifts as they unwrap so that the packaging is often scattered about and forgotten, but it too could be a hazard. Small clips and ties can cause choking and large plastic bags can result in asphyxia. Cords and straps that exceed 8 to 12 inches can be caught around the neck, resulting in strangulation; therefore all toy packaging should be promptly discarded.

  4. Instructions. Though it’s tempting to just let your child “have at it” when they open a new toy they receive as a gift, take the time to read the instructions carefully so you’ll be aware ahead of time of any potential hazards that could be overlooked if you just let them play without investigating first.

  5. Batteries. Children (and pets) can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death -- after swallowing button batteries and magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and other small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.

  6. Baloons. Latex balloons are high on the risk list for suffocation and choking.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not allowing children under age 8 to play with them. 

  7. String. Remove string and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.  In addition, watch out for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies and toddlers.

  8. Organization. Before your kids start receiving holiday gifts, take the time to organize their current toys so that when the new toys arrive, you can easily place them in the appropriate location. Not only does this keep the chaos of the gift unwrapping process in check, it will also keep younger kids safe if older siblings get toys and electronic gadgets that aren't safe for little ones.

Check out the complete Quick and Dirty Tips Holiday Gift Guide for great ideas this holiday season!

Girl with gift and baby with gift images courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.