The idea behind a toy is to provide a child with entertainment, education, fun, or some combination of the three, but the actuality is that toys are often the cause of injury. Parents and caregivers must be as vigilant when selecting toys as they are when protecting children from more obvious hazards.
Children under the age of 3 are at greatest risk of toy injury, due, in part, to their propensity for placing small objects in their mouths. Toys and parts of toys should always be larger than a child’s mouth. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, 54 percent of toy-related deaths in 2002 were due to choking, 43 percent of which involved balloons. Since latex balloons are primarily the culprit, Mylar balloons are recommended. Do not allow children to inflate latex balloons; if latex balloons are used, deflate and discard them after use. Toys that make loud or shrill noises should be avoided.