Toy safety basics every parent should know of
While toys bring many moments of joy and comfort to our little ones, they can also pose serious safety hazards, if not selected carefully.
It is a given– if you have kids, you have toys. In fact, you probably have more toys than you know what to do with, and yet every time you go shopping you probably come home with yet another plaything for your little one.
Buying toys is almost a habit with us parents, so much so that we hardly give the whole process much thought other than – Will he like it? Does he already have it? Will he learn something while playing with it?
However, purchasing a toy requires active thinking and evaluation on our part. While toys bring many moments of joy and comfort to our little ones, they can also pose serious safety hazards, if not selected carefully.
Little ones explore and discover their world by putting things in their mouth. But what parents need to be aware of is that children under three years of age do not have a well-developed coughing reflex. This means that they can easily choke on small parts.
It is therefore essential that parents pay attention to the toys their children come in contact with. Not only should parents exercise caution while purchasing a toy, they should also always make sure that their toys are age appropriate, and children are supervised during play.
So the next time you are out toy-shopping for your little one, keep this handy guide in mind to ensure that a seemingly harmless object does not end up being a safety hazard for your child.
Things to keep in mind before buying a toy
- Always read the label: Majority of the toy manufacturers follow certain guidelines and label most toys on the age appropriateness. While purchasing a toy, be sure to read the label. Do not buy toys with the age warning symbol for children under three, as they are meant for children above three years of age.
- The smaller the child, the bigger the toy: The toy should be big enough so that all of it cannot fit into the baby’s mouth. As a rule of thumb, if the toy is meant for children under three, it should not fit into a toilet paper roll, as it may pose a choking hazard.
- Ensure smooth surfaces for safety: When purchasing a toy, do look out for any sharp edges, pointed surfaces or burrs that can potentially injure a child.
- Check for toxic elements: Always read the labels to make sure that the materials that have gone into making the toy are not toxic. The toys should be made of non-toxic materials such as lead-free paint.
- Research and check for product recalls: Before setting out to purchase a new toy for your kids, take a little time to research online and make sure that what you are planning to buy has not been recalled.
- Be cautious about batteries: All battery-operated toys should have battery cases that are tightly secured to prevent a young child from opening it easily. Button batteries and battery fluid pose very serious risks. Swallowing them can lead to choking, internal bleeding, and chemical burns.
- Avoid toys with small magnets: Small magnets when swallowed, can attract one another through intestinal walls and result in obstructions, infection, blood poisoning or even death.
Toy safety does not end with exercising careful consideration during a purchase. Click on the next page to find out why supervised play with toys is essential to ensuring your child’s safety.
Always keep a watchful eye
Your responsibility as a parent does not end with the purchase of the toy. It is essential that all play be supervised so children can be taught to play safely and have fun at the same time. One of the best ways of doing this is through playing with them.
- Always teach your kids to put their toys away after play. This minimizes the risk of tripping and falling over and thus reduces risk of injury.
- Avoid letting younger children play with toys meant for an older child.
- Always read safety labels carefully and follow the instructions for use.
- Check toys regularly for broken parts. Broken or loose parts can expose sharp edges, splinters, rust or jagged ends. All damaged toys should either be repaired or thrown away.
- Look out for torn seams in plush toys to prevent children from removing its content.
No childhood is complete without toys. However, at the same time safety should not be compromised for the sake of novelty or indulgence.
If we buy toys without careful thought and examination, we could be bringing home hazards that could compromise the safety of our little ones. Mums and dads, next time you are out toy-shopping, do remember to run though this checklist.
Playing with toys is what our kids love best, let us make it safe for them.
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