Nothing makes a child happier and more excited than when they get that shiny brand new toy they’ve been asking for. But when we give our kids gifts such as toys, dolls, blocks and so on, it’s our responsibility to make sure that they’re completely safe for them to play with. It is especially important to follow the rules of toy safety for babies when choosing toys for little ones who are at most risk of toys with choking hazards and other dangers.
But there’s no need to completely ban toys for your little one for there are many ways you can safely avoid any toy-related injuries or accidents. Just keep these tips in mind and your baby can happily play out of harm’s way.
Toy Safety For Babies: 10 Tips To Buying Safe Toys
1. Never forget to read the labels
First and foremost, you should always check the labels on your child’s toys. Before buying anything, the toy’s packaging should already indicate any safety warning that could put younger kids at harm. Labels such as “Not suitable for children under three” should not be carelessly ignored for they do not indicate the skill level or intelligence needed but is actually a warning that the toy may put your baby at risk of choking hazards or sharp edges.
When buying your little one a new toy, its label or package instructions should indicate:
- Age recommendations
- Assembly instructions, if suitable to your situation
- Proper use and supervision, if also suitable to your situation
2. Double-check for choking hazards
Small toys and tiny detachable parts are a no-no for younger kids. Especially when choking and suffocation are the most common toy-related risks for children. So, at all costs, avoid any toys that are easy for kids to swallow or fit in their mouth. Or even toys with small parts that could easily fall off like buttons.
Before buying toys for babies and toddlers, it’s overall best to stay away from toys that are:
- Small and can fit in their mouths
- Have small components that can fall off while playing such as beads or buttons
Image source: Fisher Price
3. Make sure they are durable and washable
After you’ve already made certain that the toy you bought for your baby is safe and hazard-free, the next step is maintaining its cleanliness just like any other possession. Since toys were made to be played with and may most often end up on the floor after playtime, it’s important to regularly check whether they’re still clean and safe for your child to grab with their little hands.
Since babies and toddlers often like to hug and chew on toys, it’s better to get those that are durable and easy to wash for the next cleaning.
Image source: Fisher-Price
4. Be wary of surfaces and edges
It’s important to consider whether a toy may be harmful when handled by a child during playtime. When getting a toy for your baby, make sure that it’s completely free from:
- Sharp edges
- Sharp points
- Rough surfaces
- Small parts that easily break or bitten off
- Gaps or holes that could trap their little fingers
5. Lookout for magnets
Magnets may put your child at more risk than you may expect. In fact, a mandatory standard for toys with magnets was just recently approved to ensure that the magnets will not easily fall off from the toy during playtime.
This is because small, powerful magnets are extremely dangerous when swallowed for they could lock together through the intestinal walls which cause perforations and blockages. This could put your child at risk of infection and even death.
6. Watch out for batteries
Cool toys usually require batteries to power them up for lights or sounds such as plush toys, toy cars, digital pets and more. Although, for younger kids, toys with batteries could come with several risks. Button batteries especially could be a choking hazard and may even cause severe burns in the throat which could lead to death.
If you’re planning to get a toy for your baby that moves or speaks, make sure that the batteries are not easily accessible by younger kids and are secured within a battery compartment that’s screwed shut.
Image source: Fisher-Price
7. Check for any noises
Sounds could entertain your child and immerse themselves during playtime, but babies and toddlers may be sensitive to loud noises. Toys such as walkie-talkies, toy mobile phones or others that are usually held against the ear and make loud noises may best be kept away from smaller kids.
8. Be extra careful of trap hazards
Toy chests or storage boxes are important to pack away all your child’s toys after playtime, but make sure to get those that will not suddenly close or trap your kid’s fragile fingers. Toy boxes with lightweight removable lids are the safest option. In fact, it’s best if there wasn’t a lid at all.
If your child’s toy box is big enough for them to crawl inside, ensure that it has ventilation holes. Also make sure that the lid shuts slowly with fitted rubber or other stoppers.
9. For swimming aids, ensure they are completely safe to use
Inflatables or swimming aids may be made to ensure your child’s safety but also easily cause them harm. While it’s meant to keep your child afloat, you should still ensure that it meets safety standards expected from swimming aids. They should also always be used under adult supervision to avoid any accidents.
10. Find out if it would fit your child’s developmental needs
Toys have been found to help in child development but there are particular toys that were made for a specific age or stage. When choosing what to buy for your little one, consider whether it’s appropriate for their age. As well as if it is safe for them to use. Here, toy safety for babies should be your primary concern. That’s because as there are toys made for older kids that can be extremely hazardous for babies and toddlers.
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