Seasonal Toy Safety Tips and 10 Worst Toys for 2017

children playing with toys to illustrate toy safety

It’s not all fun and games when it comes to toys. In 2016, there were 174,100 children under the age of 15 treated at emergency departments for toy-related injuries; seven children died. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued its seasonal toy safety alerts.

Here are their 2017 safety recommendations:

  • Check the label: Choose age appropriate toys by reading the age label on the toy. Children younger than 3 should not have access to toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also avoid marbles and small balls for children under 3.
  • Get safety gear. With scooters and other riding toys, supervision is key along with proper safety gear that includes helmets. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding a scooter on a street or roadway with other motor vehicles.
  • Hoverboards: Although not considered a toy, hoverboards should be compliant with UL 2272 safety standard.
  • Be careful with magnets: High powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children under 14. Building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.

The 10 Worst Toys for 2017

The World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) also recently released its 10 Worst Toys for 2017 list – check out the slide show with photos so you can recognize the toys, some of which would definitely have appeal. It’s particularly important to be alert about avoiding recalled toys online. The W.A.T.C.H. report says that the Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to outlawed toys and that shoppers should not assume that any safeguards are in place:

Regulations and safety protocols for e-commerce transactions are often nonexistent or inadequate. Consumer-to-consumer “second-hand sales”— which are inconsistently monitored, if monitored at all — provide new opportunities for recalled toys to surface.

W.A.T.C.H. offers a list of Toy Hazards to Watch Out For as well as recent Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalls.

Most Dangerous Toys, 2015 holiday edition

kids-at-christmasIf kids are on your holiday shopping list, toy safety should be rule number one. When Santa shops, he consults the W.A.T.C.H. list of the “10 Worst Toys” for the 2015 Holiday Season. This 43rd Annual Report is issued by World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.). This year, they have a special parental alert to be particularly careful of the dangers associated with online purchases of potentially harmful toys. The link above is a slideshow of you can get a PDF version of the dangerous toys with photos and information as to why they are classified as dangerous.

“Whether shopping in a retailer’s store or on their website, awareness of classic hidden toy hazards can prevent injuries. Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels, resurface each year in newly designed toys. In the last twelve months, there have been at least sixteen (16) toy recalls representing over three million (3,000,000) units of toys with recognized safety defects in the United States and Canada proving the inadequacy of existing standards. In 2013, there were over 250,000 toy-related injuries and 50 children died in toy-related incidents between 2010 and 2013. Although even one injury to one child is too many, particularly when the injury is preventable, recent statistics emphasize that dangerous toys continue to pose a year-round threat. The ten (10) toy recalls due to choking and/or ingestion risks, issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the preceding twelve months, highlight the continued problem of small and ingestible parts reaching children.”

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group also issues a report on dangers to children in their 2015 Trouble in Toyland report, which lists both specific toys as well as general problem areas and dangers that parents should be alert for. See the press release for a summary.

More toy & child safety resources

Consumer groups issue dangerous toy alerts

Santa probably already knows these things, but if you have children on your holiday shopping list, you should take a few minutes to review the year’s most dangerous toys, as identified by two consumer watchdog groups.

Trouble in Toyland highlights 24 potentially hazardous toys and includes tips for keeping children safe from the toys you already own. They note that these toys are only examples and that other hazards may exist. This report is issued annually by US PIRG – see the full Trouble in Toyland report.


10 toys to avoid this holiday season – The World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) unveiled its 42nd annual list of nominees for the 10 Worst Toys of 2014 for this holiday season (also see video clip below)

Staying Safe – Tips & Resources
U.S. PIRG issues the following safety tips for avoiding dangerous toys

CPCS offer a good Toy Safety Tip Sheet – also in Spanish

Learn more about toy recalls and see recent product recalls

Sign up to get toy and other consumer product recalls

Research the chemical content of toys

Prior related post: Two common household items that are very dangerous to your kids

Keeping Kids safe: Unsafe Toys 2009; safe toy shopping tips

Every holiday season, child and consumer protection groups offer lists of the year’s most unsafe toys, as well as tips for how to shop for safe toys. If you have kids on your shopping list, take a few minutes to review these valuable guides.
Unsafe Toy List 2009 from U.S.PIRG’s 2009 Toy Safety Report, Trouble In Toyland.
2009 “10 Worst Toy” List from W.A.T.C.H. (nonprofit group World Against Toys Causing Harm
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Division’s Toy Hazard Recalls
There are three main toy safety hazards: Choking, Noise, and Toxins. For children over 3 focus on Noise and Toxic hazards. For children under 3 also avoid choking hazards from small toys, toy parts and balloons. Here’s a handy guide to hazards that you can call up on your mobile phone while shopping: Toy Safety Hazards – you can also report any hazards you encounter in your shopping trips.
Other resources:
Trouble in Toyland (PDF) – PIRG’s 59-page 2009 report on toy safety.
Tips for Toy Safety (PDF) – PIRG’s printable brochure
Toy Safety Shopping Tips – U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Toy Safety – guidelines for toy selection from the National Network for Child Care