Toy safety

Small parts of toys pose a hazard to babies and young children — they can cut, choke, poison or strangle if they are not safe, or not used safely.

What you need to know

Small children need close supervision when playing with toys to help prevent accidents from happening.

Children under 3 are at risk of choking on small items they may put into their mouths.

What you need to do

Always buy toys that are right for your child’s age. Toys for older children need to be kept out of reach of younger children.

Choosing the right toy for a child's age – Plunket whānau āwhina(external link)

What you need to do - accordions

  • Hand-held toys

    Check out whether the toy is suitable using the “Six S” guide:


    • Remember that children under 3 put everything in their mouths, up their noses and in their ears, and they can’t cough things up.
    • The smaller the child, the bigger the toy. If any toy parts are less than 31mm in diameter and 57mm long, a child under 3 shouldn't be playing with it.


    • Look for paints and fillings that are labelled 'non-toxic'.
    • Check that soft toy fillings can’t come out easily and cause a child to choke.


    • Check that strings or tails on toys are not long enough to cut off a child’s circulation.
    • Check that they are firmly attached to the toy.


    • Small children need close supervision with toys to help prevent accidents from happening. Remember, a supervised child is a safer child.
    • Toys for older children need to be kept out of reach of younger children.


    • If toys have sharp points or rough edges a child could badly scratch or cut themselves.


    • Under the age of 18 months a child’s hearing is at its most sensitive. At this age a child can’t easily get away from or shield themselves from a loud noise. That’s why it’s important to buy toys suitable for the age.
    • For babies, try to buy a toy that makes a noise no louder than a conversation — that’s around 60dB.
    • The toy should be kept well away from a baby’s head.
  • Water toys

    • Take care with the type of toys children have access to, and with where and how they're used – toys that might be appropriate for use in a paddling pool may not be appropriate at the beach or a swimming hole at the river.
    • Read and comply with all instructions provided with a water or flotation toy, and pay particular attention to the suitable age of use – a toy that is suitable for a 10 year old may not be safe for a 4 year old.
    • Supervise children closely when they're in the water.
    • Teaching children to swim can go a long way towards reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Bicycles

    • Bicycles are used on the road and — like cars — it's extremely important that they work properly and don't add to the dangers of the road.
    • Children’s tricycles are considered toys and are not allowed for road use.
    • Never buy a bike that your child has to “grow into”. This is unsafe.

    Pedal bicycles – Commerce Commission New Zealand Te Komihana Tauhokohoko(external link)

If you have a safety problem or concern

If you have some concerns about the safety of a product or if you’re injured by a product, you should tell the retailer or supplier about it.

You also have the right to ask for a remedy such as a refund, replacement, or repair under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). One of the guarantees in the CGA is that products must be of acceptable quality, and this includes that the product is safe.

Faulty products – Consumer Protection(external link)

In addition, it’s good to report the details to us – product safety reports from the public help government agencies to identify systemic issues and help us to prioritise and respond to issues.

Report an unsafe product