Skip to main content

Top Safety Tips for Early Holiday Shoppers Amid Reports of Expected Toy Shortage

Release Date: September 28, 2021

2020 Data Show 9 Deaths and Nearly 150,000 ER-Treated Injuries with Children’s Toys 

WASHINGTON, D.C.Toy manufacturers are warning of potential supply-chain delays and global shipping issues due to COVID-19. Concerns about a possible toy shortage this holiday, are prompting many Americans to start their holiday shopping early. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is issuing its holiday toy buying tips early this year, urging shoppers to review these safety tips BEFORE hitting the stores in person, or shopping online.

A new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that in 2020, there were nine deaths and more than 149,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries to children ages 14 and younger. The majority of these injuries and deaths were associated with choking on small parts of toys.

The report also shows emergency department-treated injuries associated with the following items:

  • toy balls: These were related to the most emergency department-treated injuries (8% or 11,400);
  • building sets (7% or 9,900);   
  • toy vehicles (4% or 6,200);
  • non-motorized scooters: ER-injuries increased by 2.5 percent for children younger than 14, from about 35,600 in 2019, to about 36,500 injuries in 2020. 

CPSC recommends these simple safety tips before purchasing toys:

  • Choose age-appropriate toys that match the child's interests and abilities. Always read and heed the label to determine whether a toy is age-appropriate for the child.
  • Keep small balls, high-powered magnets, and toys with small parts or button batteries away from children younger than age 3.
  • Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old, and immediately discard balloons that won’t inflate, or have popped. 
  • Get safety gear, including helmets for scooters and other riding toys. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and be sized to fit.
  • Take note of safety warnings, information, and labels.

Online shopping continues to be popular, convenient, and a safe alternative this season. Adults should follow additional toy safety tips when shopping online:

  • Always shop from stores and online retailers you know and trust.
  • Look for a choking hazard warning or statements, especially when purchasing toys and games online that contain small parts, such as balls, marbles and balloons. 
  • Check for additional safety information from online sellers, especially when shopping for kids. 
  • To avoid counterfeits, scrutinize the product, the packaging and the label. If the price seems too good to be true, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit.
  • Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label on electrical products.

Before purchasing a new or used toy, consumers should check that the toy has not been banned or recalled. This can easily be confirmed at, or by downloading the free CPSC Recalls App on Whenever possible, register the toy with the company after purchase.

If a toy, or any other household product, appears to be dangerous or malfunctions, immediately stop using it, secure it in a safe location away from children, and report the safety issue to This can help reduce the risk of injury to other children. 

Regardless of when the 2021 holiday shopping season begins, CPSC urges manufacturers and consumers to put safety first, especially regarding children’s toys. 


Release Number

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

For lifesaving information:

Media Contact

Please use the below phone number for all media requests.

Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

View CPSC contacts for specific areas of expertise

Report an unsafe product