Well designed and constructed toys can provide hours of enjoyment and stimulation for your children. Poorly designed and cheaply made toys, however, can present serious hazards. When evaluating a toy for your child, use your common sense and powers of observation. Does the toy seem solid and well constructed? Are there small pieces that can break off and present choking or cutting hazards? Does the price seem too good to be true - if it is, you can be sure that cheap materials were used, and it is likely not well constructed.
This is an area where quality wins over quantity. It is better to have one well made toy that will last, instead of three or four cheaply made toys. Well meaning parents, grandparents and friends love to heap countless presents on a child. This can be overwhelming, and often many of the toys are never even played with. Many organizations, such as the ones linked to at left, recommend and rate toys. Not only are most of the recommended toys well made, but they also have been shown to be fun and stimulating for children.
Lastly, many people ignore instructions, labels and warnings - don't do so here. Also remember that your kids likely won't or can't read these materials - so it's imperative that you take the time to explain to your child how a toy is supposed to be used, and how it could dangerous.
Toys are an area where recalls happen almost constantly. Please check back with the Child Safety Blog for updates.
http://www.toysafety.org - general toy safety information, including list of worst toys
www.healthytoys.org - ratings of toys
www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html - list of recalls regarding toys
http://www.aap.org/publiced/br_toysafety.htm - more guidelines on toy safety