As parents, we might find it pretty intuitive to choose suitable toys for our little ones. Although being the person we love the most, our inner lion mother roars, and sometimes we can make a mountain out of a molehill and say “this toy is too dangerous for my child”. So how do you choose the safest toys?
How can you tell if a toy is safe? Use this safety guide to avoid risks.
- Choose toys that are appropriate for the child's age (and make sure the younger ones don't play with the older ones).
- Always read the safety warnings before you buy anything.
- Keep an eye out for small parts. They are one of the most common risks for children under three years of age, who usually put everything in their mouths. In a safe and age-suitable toy, the size of the pieces is regulated to prevent the risk of suffocation.
- Run your hand along the edges and edges to make sure they don't scratch or cut
- Discard fragile toys that break easily because, once broken, they can have sharp points.
- Eliminate very hard and bumpy toys, as they can harm little ones.
- If the toy has batteries, check that the compartment is difficult to open. If they are rechargeable, look at the safety instructions to avoid accidents due to heating or short-circuiting.
- Outdoor toys such as rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, bicycles, etc. must be accompanied by safety equipment (helmet, knee pads, etc.). You have to give the complete kit.
- It is forbidden to use toxic substances in toys, but in practice, products for children still include toxic substances, such as phthalates, in their composition. Check the composition of the plastics and buy products with the CPSC seal in specialized stores to minimize risks
- Do not buy toys with long ribbons or cords if they are intended to be given to your little ones.
- And remember: before opting for a flashy or trending toy, check that it is suitable for the age of the girl or boy who is going to receive it.
Toys are an important part of any child's development. However, when it comes of babies, we must pay close attention to the possibility of choking and suffocation due to aspiration, in addition to these general warnings. As a result, it is critical that families not only consider these recommendations when selecting play materials but also supervise their children while they play.
Toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers that are both safe and fun.
Kidshealth, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of knowing what to look for when purchasing toys for babies and young children in the home:
- Toys made of cloth or other fabrics must have labels stating that they are fireproof or incombustible.
- Stuffed toys should be washable.
- The paint on wooden toys should not contain even a hint of lead.
- Materials for arts and crafts should be non-toxic. Colored waxes and paints, for example, must indicate on the packaging that they comply with the regulations.
- The noise from some musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn (or even louder if held directly to the child's ears) and can cause hearing loss.
Safe toys for babies, toddlers 12-36 months and preschoolers
It's crucial to read the labels on toys to ensure that they're appropriate for each age group as well as our children's development stage. It is also important to take into account the character, habits, and behavior of our little ones every time we buy them a new toy.
Toy age levels are based on safety considerations rather than intelligence or maturity. Therefore, we must always take into account not only the safety requirements of a toy, but also the specific recommendations for different age groups:
Toys should be large enough that they cannot be swallowed or become lodged in the trachea. An anti-choke tube is useful for knowing if a toy is too small, as it is designed to be about the same diameter as a young child's windpipe. If an object fits inside the tube, it is dangerous for a small child. If you can't get one of these tubes, Kidshealth recommends using the inner cardboard tube from a toilet paper roll. For this reason, we must avoid marbles, coins, and balls.
Batteries and the liquids they contain are a serious hazard to children, including the risk of aspiration, suffocation, internal bleeding, and chemical burns. For this reason, battery-operated toys must contain specific and secure parts with screws that contain them, so that children cannot open them.
A toy for a child up to 36 months must be unbreakable and strong enough to withstand bites without its parts breaking and being chewed and/or swallowed by the child. In addition, it must not contain
- Sharp edges or small parts that can come loose (such as eyes, wheels, or buttons).
- Tiny spikes that can reach the child's throat if they get into the mouth.
- Ribbons, threads, or cords of more than 2.5 inches.
- Parts or pieces that can pinch the little fingers.
- Rid-on toys, such as rocking horses or wheelbarrows, should come with seat belts or straps and be stable and safe (so they don't tip over).
Make playtime safe in your home.
After ensuring we have bought safe toys for children, it is also important to make sure that the little ones know how to use them. The best way to achieve this is to supervise them while they play. In addition, we must teach them to put their toys away when they stop playing with them to avoid additional risks (such as tripping, bumping, or falling). Furthermore, outdoor toys should be well protected when not in use to avoid damage from heat, rain, or cold.
Keeping our sons' and daughters' toys clean is also important for their health. Some plastic toys can be washed in the dishwasher, but we must always read the manufacturer's instructions first. Another option, according to Kidshealth, is to mix antibacterial soap with hot water in a spray bottle, spray the toys with the solution, and then rinse them. Keep extra eyes for bath toys, as mold and mildew are common on them.
It's also a good idea to check the toys on a regular basis (especially the ones that get the most use) to make sure they're not broken or worn out and can be used again. Splinters should not be present in wooden toys, bicycles should not be rusted, and stuffed animals should not have torn seams or frayed parts that could fall out.
Finally, if we have the slightest doubt about the safety of a toy, it is best not to allow our child to play with it, as a precaution.
What if my child inherits toys or receives handmade gifts?
Old toys can have enormous sentimental value if inherited and be much cheaper if bought secondhand, but they may not meet current safety standards or may be so worn that they can break and be dangerous.
Toys that have already been used by other children and those that have been made by hand should be inspected very carefully. They may not have been tested for safety or may not comply with current regulations. For this reason, it is best not to offer younger children painted toys made before 1978, because they may contain lead paint.
Special attention must also be paid to stuffed animals and toys that are sold or given away at street fairs or vending machines because they cannot meet any safety standards.