Which toys present the biggest choking hazards for kids?

The holiday season is exciting for parents who are looking forward to seeing the delight on their children’s faces when they open their gifts. Unfortunately, not all toys are safe for kids. Even if your baby or toddler receives a toy that is indicated for his or her age range, you should check it for possible choking hazards. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our children’s emergency care providers encourage all parents to learn how to administer infant CPR and the pediatric Heimlich maneuver .

Toys with small parts

Babies and toddlers are incredibly curious, and they like to explore objects by putting them in their mouths. It’s all too easy for a toy with small parts—or with parts that are easily broken off—to choke a child. Test each toy your child receives to ensure its safety.

Children’s emergency care physicians recommend purchasing a choking hazard tester. Try to put all sides and parts of the toy through this cylinder, and if any of them fit, the toy is a choking hazard. Alternatively, you could use a depleted toilet paper roll.

Compressible toys

Some objects, such as toy balls, might seem perfectly safe for kids. However, some of these are compressible, which would allow a curious child to fit the object into the mouth. Keep these toys away from your child.

Impromptu toys

Often, the most dangerous toys aren’t toys at all. Emergency care doctors recommend crawling through each room of your home to examine potential threats from your baby’s perspective. Ensure that the floor and easily reached areas are free of hazards like the following:

  • Coins
  • Pen caps
  • Bottle caps
  • Buttons
  • Batteries

Toy packaging

Toy packaging is often overlooked as a choking hazard. Before giving your child any new toy, inspect it carefully for plastic wrap and foam padding.

It’s common for toy manufacturers to add a nearly invisible layer of film to the mirrors on children’s toys to guard against scratches. This film is a documented choking hazard .


Balloons are recognized as a major choking hazard by ER physicians. Never leave a young child unattended with a latex balloon or a deflated balloon. Even older children may choke on the broken pieces of a popped balloon, and it’s possible for them to inhale a balloon that they’re trying to inflate.

At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, we’re committed to healthcare excellence because we believe families in our community deserve the best of care. You can rely on our children’s emergency care team in Las Vegas if your child suffers a medical problem. For non-emergent inquiries only, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.

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