Toys are BIG business

Dec 8, 2023, 11:38 AM by Sally Robinson

Toys are BIG business.  Half of all small businesses in the US get more than 25% of their annual sales in the holiday season.  In the US over 44 million people buy games and toys through the internet.  Needless to say there is tremendous energy given to promote sales of toys as there is much money to be made. 

Most adults are aware of the influence of TV advertisements but the promotion of toys on social media is a very powerful influencer for both parents and children.  You can find instructions on how to promote toys on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media.  Here’s a quote from Corinna Keefe in her discussion on How to Promote Toys on Social Media, “toy marketing relies on influencers and recommendations from other kids.  Use a friendly, approachable style...”.  She goes on the explain how to target different ages children and adults.

Unfortunately, influencers are not discussing the safety or studies that give evidence that these toys are educational.  A toy is defined as an object intended for children’s play.  Our understanding of play is the process of children learning basic concepts such as problem-solving, gross motor/physical skills, language, and social and emotional development.  This has not changed but toys have.  Digital toys have become more sophisticated (more expensive) and have replaced physical toys.  Many of the claims advertised for toys are not based on scientific evidence but on marketing potential.

Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises.  However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. gives toy-buying tips.  Read the label for information on what ages the toy is safe for and how to use the toy.  Think Large! Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth.  Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air, avoid toys that are loud, and look for stuffed toys that are well made, washable, no loose strings or ribbons to avoid strangulation, plastic toys should be sturdy and free of toxic materials, Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years, all electric toys should be “UL approved”.  Be careful when buying crib toys that could increase the risk of suffocation and any hanging toy when the baby is over 5 months.  Be very careful of toys with small batteries or magnets.  If concerned about a toy’s safety, a good resource is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (jttps://

Evidence suggests that the core elements of toys with lights and sounds detract from the social engagement that might otherwise take place through facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.  An important part of any toy is playing and learning.  Parents playing with their child is a very important contribution to their child’s thinking skills, fine and gross motor skills, and their social and emotional well-being.

Have fun and have safe holidays.

UTMB Pediatrics

Sally Robinson MD

Dec 2023

By Categories