Don’t Play Games With Toy Safety

For many Wisconsinites, gift giving during the holiday season is a cherished tradition. But choosing the right gift takes time and attention, especially when the recipient is a child. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages buyers to consider toy safety while holiday shopping.

Consumers should check toy packaging or product webpages for:

  • Warning labels like “small parts,” “magnets,” “suffocation hazard,” etc.
  • A suggested age range, or “age grading,” provided by the manufacturer.
  • Safety verification labels from ASTM International and Underwriter Laboratories (UL).
    • For example: ASTM D4236 labeling for art materials indicates that the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and includes any necessary cautions or information.
    • Toys sold in the U.S. must meet ASTM F963 standards, which are meant to prevent injuries from choking, sharp edges, and other hazards.
  • “Flame resistant” labeling on toys with fabrics.

Other considerations to make while toy shopping:

  • If there are safety items that go along with your gift, like a helmet for a bike or scooter, consider including them in your purchase.
  • Be cautious of toys that include small batteries, which can pose choking and chemical hazards if ingested. Make sure a toy’s battery compartment is firmly secured, and if it is rechargeable, be mindful of burn risks caused by overheating.
  • Understand the risk of small magnets. If swallowed, magnets can stick together in a child’s intestinal tract and may require surgical removal.
  • Check for possible unlabeled dangers like sharp points, projectiles, and splinters.
  • If you are purchasing used toys, avoid any with chipped paint to prevent possible exposure to lead.

Some toys can be dangerous in certain circumstances. Even if your gift is intended for an older child, consider whether a younger sibling also lives in the household.

To check for products that have been recalled, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at