Safeguarding Children Against Potential Choking Hazards

Unsafe toys and some common household items can pose a potential choking hazard for small children.

Babies and toddlers often place things in their mouths. Small items such as buttons, coins, rubber balls and lollies all can pose a choking risk, as can parts that detach from faulty toys.

Families should check warning labels to see if a product such as toy is appropriate for the age of their child.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Red Nose advise to always give children under three years of age toys that:

  • are strong and won’t break into small, brittle parts that can cut, choke or cause suffocation
  • have large shapes that babies can easily pick up and sort through
  • are safe if babies place them in their mouths
  • small hands can easily hold, shake or rattle
  • have simple actions, surprises or sounds and pictures for babies to identify
  • have simple letters or numbers for babies to identify

If you are concerned about a toy or other product you can check the ACCC’s Product Safety website to see if the product has been recalled due to a defect.

To help you identify toys and other objects that can pose choking hazards, the ACCC has a free Choke Check tool, which mimics the size and shape of a child’s throat up to 36 months to show how easily an object can get stuck in an airway and block it.

For more information on safety issues for babies and young children, including creating a safe sleeping environment for baby, visit the Education section of the Red Nose website.

Last modified: 9/3/18