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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Holiday toy safety

STILLWATER, Okla. – Sharp edges and points, cords and strings, small parts and flying objects. None of these is most likely top of mind when you are scouring stores and the Internet trying to fulfill your kids’ holiday wish lists.

But, the reality is every toy is not for every child. It is important to not only consider your children’s ages, but also their interests and abilities.

“It’s a balancing act between gifting toys your children want and toys that are age appropriate,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

According to a recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, in 2012, there were an estimated 265,000 toy related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Of that number, approximately 72 percent, or 192,000, involved children younger than 15.

A CPSC regulation prohibits sharp points in toys and other products designed for children 8 or younger. Still, make sure new toys do not have sharp edges or points and be careful of stuffed toys that may contain wires that, if exposed, could cut or stab.

For infants and young children, toys with strings and cords can be dangerous, especially if those cords or strings become wrapped around the neck.

Dolls and squeeze toys with small parts such as removable small eyes, noses and squeakers, as well as deflated or broken balloons, magnets and small balls could be choking hazards if they are swallowed.

Flying toys or toys that come with projectiles such as arrows, darts or other types of potential projectiles should have soft cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective material on the tips to prevent injury.

No matter what ends up in a brightly colored gift back or a neatly wrapped box with a bow on top, there are a few general safety precautions you can follow.

For instance, immediately discard plastic wrappings and other packaging around toys once they are opened because the film can be a choking hazard.

It also is ideal to keep older kids’ toys away from younger children.

“Keep an eye out for quality design and construction as well as pay attention to labels for age recommendations, safety information and laundering instructions,” Peek said. “Take a few moments to read the instructions and warnings that come with each toy so that you, and your children, know how to operate it properly.”

To monitor toy recalls, visit the CPSC website at You can report a dangerous product or product related injury at or call the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772 (301-595-7054 for teletypewriter for the hearing and speech impaired).

For more information toy safety, contact your local county Extension office.


Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
140 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078