A Consumer’s Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys*

Considerations  when choosing a good toy for a child.

  • safe for that child’s age, well constructed, and durable;
  • appealing and interesting to the child;
  • suited to the child’s physical capabilities, and
  • suited to the child’s mental and social development.

Based on review of reference works on child development, observations of children at play, and product analyses of toys to determine which characteristics are most critical in defining the appropriate ages of the intended users, the following guidelines are provided to help in selecting toys. 

Toys for Young Infants 0 to 6 Months


Toys for infants 6 months or younger are primarily for looking, listening, sucking, or fingering.

Infants 0-2 months enjoy seeing and hearing interesting things.

Infants 2-6 months show growing interest in touching, holding, batting, turning, shaking, kicking, mouthing and tasting objects.

Edu Weights with contrasting textures and patternsInfants like to see

  • bright primary colors.
  • high contrast.
  • simple designs.
  • clear lines and features.
  • human face features (especially eyes).
  • bull’s eye patterns.

Toys for watching should be suspended only 8-14 inches (200-360 mm) from the infant’s eyes and angled toward his/her eyes, then moved up out of reach when he/she can touch them.


  • Construction Toys – from about 4 months
    * soft blocks
  • Manipulative Toys – from about 6-8 weeks
    * simple rattles.
    * tethers.
    * light, sturdy cloth toys.
    * squeeze toys.
    * toys suspended above or to the side of infant for batting and grasping.
  • Manipulative Toys – from about 4 months
    * disks, keys on ring.
    *interlocking plastic rings.
    * small hand-held manipulable s.
    * toys on suction cups.
    * crib gyms (children who can push up on hands and knees can      strangle on crib gyms — be sure to remove crib gym from crib or playpen at this time).
  •  Pattern Making Toys , Puzzles –  not suited to age group


  • Dolls
    * soft baby dolls, soft-bodied dolls, or rag dolls–all with molded (not    loose) hair.
  • Stuffed Toys
    * small plush animals.
    * music box animals (operated and monitored for safety by adults).
    * grab-on soft toys.
  • Puppets
    * soft hand puppets (held and moved by adults).
  • Role-Play Materials
    * mirrors (large, unbreakable) fastened to crib, playpen or wall (peak interest at 4-6 months).
  • Play Scenes (Including Small Figures)  –  not suited to age


  • Audio-Visual Equipment (Adult Operated)
    * records, tapes, or CD (gentle, regular rhythms, lullabies).
    * music boxes.


  • Books – may enjoy listening to a story being read.

*Based on findings of U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Pub. No. 285
Link to U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  Consumer’s Guide

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