Safe toys are:
- Non-toxic (check the label)
- Non-flammable (flame-resistant)
- Big enough so children cannot swallow them
- Compliant with Canadian government safety standards (www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/consumer-education/your-child-safe/play-time.html).
It’s best to avoid soft vinyl (PVC) toys and rattles because some substances used to make them more flexible are toxic. Children can absorb these substances by chewing on them. In the bath and wading pool, avoid rubber toys that retain water because they can breed germs.
Before you buy a toy
- Read the label to find out the recommended age.
- Examine the toy to see if it is easy to handle.
- Check that there are no sharp edges or pointed tips.
- Make sure it doesn’t have any small parts that can break loose or come unstitched. Parts on large toys should not come off easily.
- Avoid toys with cords, especially elastic cords that could get wrapped around the child’s neck.
- Be careful with small items, small parts, and button cell batteries (the kind used in watches), as the child could put them in his nose or mouth and swallow or choke on them.
- Make sure baby toys like rattles and teething rings are large enough so they cannot get caught in your baby’s throat and choke him.
- Musical toys are great because they stimulate baby’s sense of hearing and sight, but check the gears and make sure small parts do not come apart.
- Be careful however with toys that are too noisy as they can damage children’s hearing and irritate parents. Try them out before you buy them.
If you acquire used toys or other items, make sure they are in good condition and meet current safety standards.
For more information, read the brochure Is Your Child Safe? Play Time.
You can also contact Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-662‑0666 or by email at cps‑spc@hc‑sc.
Packaging, batteries, and magnets
- Throw away all plastic, cellophane, and polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging.
- Properly install the right type of batteries in toys to prevent leaks. Battery fluid is corrosive and should not come into contact with your child’s skin, let alone his mouth, nose, or eyes.
- If your baby’s toys have batteries, they should be difficult to access (e.g., in a screwed compartment).
- Don’t let your child play with small magnets. He could put them in his nose or in his mouth and swallow or choke on them.