Six Tips to Make Sure Your Child’s Holiday Toys are Safe

When the danger of lead poisoning is present in every corner of Allegheny County, how can you be sure the toys you’re buying are lead-free? December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month and experts warn that lead in toys and costume jewelry could be hazardous. Get The Lead Out, Pittsburgh is here to help you make the safest choices for the kids on your holiday list.

  1. Check the labels: “Nontoxic” labels can be deceiving and may not meet U.S. toxic or lead-free safety standards. Be wary of items made in China, India and Mexico.
  2. Don’t re-gift: Cherished family heirlooms (collectible figurines, toy train or rocking chair) that were made before 1978 may contain dangerous lead paint.
  3. Avoid vinyl: Vinyl bibs, lunchboxes (especially with metallic lining) and soft stuffed toys labeled “polyvinyl chloride,” “vinyl” or “PVC” it may contain lead.
  4. Say ‘no’ to impulse buys: Toys from vending machines, craft shows or street fairs may be unsafely made.
  5. Be wary: Watch out for “second hand” toys at yard sales or thrift stores. Many recalled or toxic toys end up there.
  6. Don’t rely on home test kits: Many do-it-yourself tests don’t accurately show if lead is present or provide false positive or negative readings. Only a certified laboratory can accurately determine how much lead is in a toy.

Items generally considered safe include: All toys manufactured in North America and the European Union; books, DVDs, CDs, and most plush toys, although parents should check for recalls before purchasing.

For more information about safe toys and the latest recall alerts visit the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) website:

If you think your child might have been exposed to lead, consult your child’s pediatrician immediately. To learn about more ways to protect kids from lead, visit

Tips curated from information from: WebMD, U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, Center for a Healthy Environment and The Toy Association.

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