Toy safety guidance

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to consumers. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

Our advice
  • Think about the suitability of the toy for the child's age and ability
  • Buy from reputable suppliers
  • Take extra care when buying toys from car boot and jumble sales
  • Second hand toys need to be thoroughly checked before purchase
  • Supervise young children during play
  • Be wary of young children playing with older children's toys 
  • Be aware of sharp edges, small parts, cords, projectiles, plastic bags and batteries
  • Most accidents happen when people trip over toys during and after play, so encourage children to tidy up and put toys away
  • Periodically check toys to make sure they have not become unsafe due to excessive wear
  • Dispose of toys which are no longer safe
Buying toys

All new toys must be marked with: 

  • the CE symbol (manufacturer's declaration that the toy meets all toy safety laws and standards)
  • the name and address of the manufacturer or importer
  • any relevant markings/precautions for use such as:  
    • an age warning for toys not suitable for children under 3 (eg due to a choking hazard)
    • instructions for correct assembly and use (eg swings and slides)
    • whether toys require adult supervision or should only be used by children over a certain age
    • the need for protective equipment when using skates, skateboards, etc
    • warnings for use in the water (eg rubber rings)

Instructions and warnings may be on the toys or their packaging. You should retain this information.

The 'Lion Mark'

The voluntary British Toy and Hobby Association 'Lion Mark' is often seen on toy packaging. All Association members' toys will comply with the legal safety rules.

Lion Mark for toys

Toys with magnets

Check the safety warnings on the packaging, eg the symbol below may be used in place of a written age warning. It indicates the toy is not suitable for children under 3 years of age. Specific reasons will accompany the symbol as required e.g. ‘Small parts, choking hazard’.

Toy is not suitable for children under 3 years of age

Where a toy is marked ‘not suitable for children under 36 months – choking hazard’, it is because the toy has small parts which could become detached and might be a choking risk. 

Toys marked ‘recommended for ages 5-8’ are discretionary guidelines.

If your child has swallowed a magnet from one of these toys

  • Seek urgent medical attention. Dial 999 or NHS 111
  • If possible, take the toy and any packaging with you
  • Later report this matter to your local Trading Standards Service