New Survey Reveals Parents’ Toy Safety Perceptions

The Toy Association Urges Families to Follow Age Labels, Keep Small Parts from Kids Under 3

November 2, 2017

A new national survey of toy-purchasing parents (parents of children under 18 who have purchased a toy for a child age 0-14) has revealed troublesome findings about parents’ toy safety beliefs and behaviors. In light of these findings, The Toy Association is alerting families of the top safety tips to keep in mind leading up to the holiday season – and all year long.

According to the survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of The Toy Association, many of these parents (67 percent) say that toys with small parts are among their chief safety concerns. But 82 percent think the age label on toy packaging is “just a suggestion” – and 73 percent think it’s okay for younger children to play with their older siblings’ toys.

What’s more, 81 percent of these parents say that when they shop for toys for children, they tend to focus more on the types of toys that kids are interested in, rather than the toys recommended for the child’s age.

“Parents and other consumers should always heed the age label on toy packaging. Toys labeled 3+ are not safe for kids under three, because they may contain small parts, which can be a choking hazard,” says Joan Lawrence, senior vice president of safety and regulatory affairs at The Toy Association. “Contrary to what some parents might think, a toy’s age grading isn’t about how smart a child is. It’s based on the developmental abilities of kids at a given age and the specific features of the toy.”

Two-thirds of parents (67 percent) also said that they believe toys manufactured outside the United States are less safe than those made in America, when in fact all toys sold in the U.S., no matter where in the world they are made, must adhere to strict federal safety standards and laws that are in place to protect children at play.

Toys sold at reputable retailers – whether in stores or online – are tested to more than 100 rigorous U.S. safety laws and regulations. However, adults play an important role in ensuring that kids are playing safely and appropriately. Here are The Toy Association’s top three safety tips.

Always follow the age label on toy packaging. Avoid toys with small parts for kids under 3 (or kids who still mouth toys). Toys with small parts have a warning label on the packaging, so keep a careful eye out as you shop.

Keep older kids’ toys, which may contain small pieces, out of reach from younger siblings and their friends. Always supervise children while they play.

People who sell children’s products at garage sales, secondhand stores, or even temporary stores may not know about the latest safety information and certified products. The staff at established toy stores is knowledgeable about age-appropriate toys. Online sellers include safety information and the toy’s age grading in product descriptions.

“Once the gifts are unwrapped, parents should get on the floor and play with their kids,” says Lawrence. “Showing little ones how to properly use a toy or game is the best way to make sure they understand how to safely enjoy it. Best of all – playing together as a family is lots of fun and even has enhanced developmental benefits for children.”

The Toy Association and its members take toy safety extremely seriously and are committed year-round to educating parents and caregivers about safe play. Following this simple safety advice can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary accidents and injuries.

For more advice on safe play – including tips for first-time parents, advice on magnet and battery safety, how to ensure safe play outdoors, and much more, visit The Toy Association’s free resource for parents and caregivers,

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of The Toy Association from August 24-28, 2017 among 540 parents of children under 18 who have purchased a toy for a child ages 0-14.



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