Toy Safety: What we should look out for to avoid accidents and injuries!

The festive season is upon us again!

This season has historically has seen the common practice of buying Christmas presents for children continue to tremendous heights with toys featuring prominently among the common gifts.

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards has developed and published the following Uganda Standards that all manufacturers and dealers in toys and toy products should endeavour to comply with. These Uganda Standards are based on the International Standards established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

  1. US ISO 8124-1:2018, Safety of toys — Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties (4th Edition)
  2. US ISO 8124-2: 2018, Safety of toys — Part 2: Flammability (3rd Edition)
  3. US ISO 8124-3: 2020, Safety of toys — Part 3: Migration of certain elements (3rd Edition)
  4. US ISO 8124-4: 2014, Safety of toys — Part 4: Swings, slides and similar activity toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use (2nd Edition)


Whereas the young people may enjoy receiving and playing with these common gifts, we need to remind ourselves of dangers that they pose to children and hence guard against them.

Firstly, buyers of the toys have to make sure that a toy is appropriate for your young child, by checking the label for the prescribed age groups.

In general, most toys on the market today are safe, however, injuries can still ensue.

The first step in preventing toy-related injuries is to know what to look for the following;

Toy makers manufacturers and dealers must follow the guidelines in the above Uganda Standards in determining the age grading of a toy. The Standards now requires labeling on toys that are designed for children between the ages of 3 and 6, which can pose a choking hazard for children under age 3.

The labels must specifically state that the toy is unsafe for children under age 3 and the reason for the warning.

The age recommendation on a toy echoes the safety each toy based on majorly four categories that include;

  • The physical ability of the child to play with the toy
  • The mental ability of a child to know how to use the toy.
  • The play needs and interests present at various levels of a child’s development.
  • The safety aspects of a particular toy.

Therefore, families with children of various ages should remember that toys for older children could be dangerous to younger children and as such in order to prevent toy-related injuries or death, the following safety steps must be taken;


  • Don’t let your toddler (ages 3 and under) play with small toys and parts. Children in this age group still “mouth” objects. This can cause them to choke on small objects.
  • Make sure that the toy is robust and that no small parts (such as eyes, noses, buttons, or other parts) can break off the toy
  • Don’t allow your child to play with latex rubber balloons.
  • Don’t let your child play on bean bag chairs that contain small foam pellets. If the bean bag chair rips, your child can inhale and choke on the pellets.


Falling or drowning

  • Riding toys should be kept away from stairs, traffic, and bodies of water.

Supervise your child while playing on a riding toy and make sure he or she fits properly on the toy.


Suffocation and strangulation

  • Remember to discard any plastic wrapping the toy came in. Plastic wrapping can suffocate a small child.
  • Infants should not be able to get to string longer than 7 inches—especially from hanging objects in cribs and playpens. They can strangle an infant.
  • Strangling may happen if a string, rope, or cord from a toy gets tangled around a child’s neck. Long objects can be deadly if your child falls or gets tangled up in them while in a crib.
  • Loose or long parts of clothing, such as dangling hood cords, could also strangle your child when tangled or hooked on playground equipment.


Other injuries

  • Eye injuries often result from toys that shoot plastic objects or other flying pieces.
  • Playing with electric plug-in toys or hobby kits may result in serious injuries. Burns and shocks may result from frayed cords, misuse, or prolonged use.


In addition, to protect your child from injury, be sure to always supervise him or her when playing with toys.