We’re all kids at heart, but one of the first questions you should ask “is the toy age-appropriate?” It’s essential to adhere to the age guidelines indicated on toy packaging, because even a toy for a three-year-old could have parts too small for a two-year-old to handle properly. Are there any small, loose parts that your child can swallow?
If you’re not sure, consider the toilet paper tube test: anything that can pass through the tube is too small to be given to a child under three years old. Marbles, coins and balls are common culprits. Could any part of the toy be bitten off and swallowed? Does the toy have a string, ribbon, straps or cord longer than seven inches? Is your toy non-toxic? Look for points, edges or breakable parts that could be sharp and avoid those toys for kids under eight.
If you’re considering a ride-on, determine whether it is sturdy and stable, and does the recipient have all the proper safety equipment (helmet, kneepads, etc.) required to use it.
Does the toy include magnets? Powerful magnets can be fatal if swallowed by children. Could the toy be a fire hazard? Fabric toys should be labeled as flame-retardant or flame-resistant. And electrical toys with batteries or electric plugs pose a burn hazard, so they should be avoided for kids under eight. Does the toy include any throwing or shooting projectiles? It’s best to avoid these toys because they can cause injuries, especially to the eyes.