Toy Association Urges Gift-Givers to Shop Safely for Kids

Nearly a fifth of parents surveyed said their child already received a counterfeit toy purchased online.

As we approach the holiday season, The Toy Association warns parents to be vigilant about ensuring counterfeit and imitation toys do not end up under the tree.

A shocking 83 percent of parents say their kids receive toys from grandparents and other gift-givers which they suspect are not purchased from verified sellers, including 48 percent who say it happens “frequently,” according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents conducted by Wakefield Research for The Toy Association.

Of those surveyed, two in five parents (45 percent) said they would keep a toy even if they suspected it was counterfeit and potentially unsafe. That’s more than double the 19 percent who said the same in 2019!

“Products sold at retail by legitimate U.S. toy companies, whether in brick-and-mortar stores or online, are rigorously tested for compliance as part of our nation’s world-class safety system,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association.  “Yet consumers must be vigilant as illicit sellers of counterfeit and dangerous imitation products have infiltrated online marketplaces, deceiving shoppers and gift-givers while posing a serious safety threat to children.”

Nearly a fifth of parents (19 percent) said their child has already received a counterfeit or knock-off toy purchased online. Among those whose children receive gifts from older relatives (grandparents and/or great aunts and uncles) who shop online, a concerning 71 percent of parents have doubts those gift-givers know how to ensure the toys they purchase are coming from verified sellers.

With parents planning to do 58 percent of their holiday toy shopping online this year, it’s important they consider The Toy Association’s tips for avoiding counterfeits:

  • TIP #1 – AVOID SHADY SELLERS: Dig deep into a lesser-known seller’s online presence and reviews to be sure the toy under consideration is authentic (a.k.a. safe). Not being able to find a website for the manufacturer or seller is a red flag. Multiple grammatical errors in a product description or poorly photoshopped pictures are also red flags. A great alternative is to visit the toy brand’s website and either purchase directly from the site or follow links to an official retailer to purchase. Also, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!


  • TIP #2 – AGE MATTERS: Following the age label on toy packaging can save a child from serious injury. For example, toys labeled 3+ might contain small parts that are a choking hazard for children under three (or those who still mouth toys). More than a quarter (26 percent) of parents surveyed said their child has a received a toy intended for older children, proving that gift-givers need to be better educated on the importance of heeding age labels.


  • TIP #3 – AVOID DANGEROUS NON-TOY GIFTS: 15 percent of parents surveyed said their child has received a gift that was not a toy. Yet items like office supplies, desk puzzles, home decorations, watches and remote controls that are not meant for children may contain small batteries and/or high-powered magnets that can be accessed by children and very dangerous if accidentally swallowed. Parents should stick with purchasing toys intended for children, since there are strict federal standards in place to make sure those products are safe.

For more toy safety tips and information, visit www.PlaySafe.org.


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