Use our tips for buying and using dolls to help protect your child from cuts, splinters and choking hazards.

About dolls

Dolls come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of accessories. Certain dolls are more suitable for young children.

Risks and injuries

When playing with dolls, young children can:

  • choke on a doll’s removable limbs, head or adornments
  • cut or prick themselves on exposed and dangerous sharp edges or points
  • cut themselves on brittle plastic material
  • get splinters from wooden dolls.

Buying tips

  • Check whether the limbs or head are removable. Small parts can pose a choking hazard, particularly for a child under three years old.
  • Ensure small parts, such as eyes and buttons, are securely fixed to the doll or its clothes so they can't be easily removed by pulling, chewing or washing.
  • Check that eyes and buttons are made from non-toxic materials.
  • Ensure decorations, like glitter or sequins, on fashion accessories are firmly attached.
  • Check that any nappies, liners and other clothes designed to be removed from the doll are secured with Velcro, clips or other safe fastening systems—not pins.
  • Check that any plastic material used on the doll is soft and flexible. Brittle plastics can break and form sharp fragments and dangerous small parts.
  • Check for smoothly finished surfaces on wooden dolls. They should not contain joining nails or screws, and the joins should be firmly glued.

Safe use

  • Regularly check the doll’s clothing for bows, ribbons or other adornments that may become loose and form a choking hazard.
  • If the limbs or heads can be pulled from the doll’s body, ensure they do not expose sharp wires inside the body or on the end of the limbs or head.
  • Do not give children dolls that have exposed and dangerous sharp edges or points.
  • Do not give small metal figures to young children. These figures are usually collectors’ items and not for children—they may contain or be coated with toxic elements and cause children serious illness.

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