Toy boxes

If using a toy box to pack away your child's toys, follow our tips for buying and using toy boxes safely to prevent serious injury or entrapment.

About toy boxes

Toy boxes are often used to keep play areas tidy. Serious injury can occur if children trap themselves inside the box or if the toy box lid falls on them.

Risks and injuries

Injuries and deaths of young children have been recorded in Australia and overseas from toy box lids falling on children’s heads or necks. There have also been cases where children were trapped inside toy boxes and suffocated.

Children up to the age of two are most at risk of harm using toy boxes. Children may have the strength to lift the lid, but when they look into the box the lid can fall on their head or neck. Their hands and fingers can also suffer injuries if the lid falls on them.

Buying tips

  • Buy a toy box either without a lid or with a removable, lightweight lid to prevent injury or entrapment inside the box.
  • Look for stoppers on the inside of the lid that make a gap of 12 mm or more when the lid is closed. This stops the lid from crushing fingers and allows a trapped child to breathe.
  • Make sure the box has ventilation holes to stop suffocation if a child climbs inside and becomes trapped.
  • A lightweight plastic crate is safer than a heavy box with a lid.

Safe use

  • If the toy box has a lock, it must be a simple one that a trapped child can open from the inside. Otherwise, consider removing it to avoid the risk of entrapment and suffocation.
  • If the box has a heavy lid, consider removing it to avoid the risk of injury.