Safety tips on toys for babies

Safety tips on toys for babies

Toys are undoubtedly of great importance in every child’s life. They bring joy, provide entertainment, boost skills development, and encourage early learning. And yet, choosing the right toys for a baby, make sure they are 100% safe!

Nowadays, toys are made with safety in mind, but no toy is totally safe unless it is used in compliance with manufacturers’ age-grading and cautionary labelling as well as under adult supervision. The age levels for toys are determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity. A toddler who seems advanced compared with other kids of the same age shouldn't use toys meant for older kids.

Young children do not yet understand potential safety dangers. Age restrictions on labels are based on the knowledge that children between the ages of 0-3 years are most at risk for putting objects in their mouths. Babies’ mouthing behaviour can lead to choking, inhaling, or swallowing small parts of a toy. When checking playthings for an infant as well as a toddler, first of all, make sure they are unbreakable and strong enough to withstand chewing. Secondly, keep in mind that toys for babies should be large enough — at least 1¼ inches (3 centimeters) in diameter and 2¼ inches (6 centimeters) in length — so that they can't be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe. Avoid marbles, coins, balls and games with balls that are 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) in diameter or less because they can get stuck in the throat. To prevent choking in kids of 0-36 months old, make sure that toys and their parts cannot fit inside an empty toilet paper tube or a choke tube. Even soft baby toys should be large enough, so that they couldn’t be swallowed even when they are squished down. And all stuffed animals should be checked for eyes, noses and parts that can come off. Toys that break or are misused can become dangerous.

Also, make sure toys for kids under 36 months don't have:

• strings longer than 7 inches (18 centimeters): longer cords and strings can be harmful for babies as  they can get wrapped around a child’s neck;

• functional sharp points and edges — to avoid injuries;

• parts that could pinch small fingers.

Moreover, keep these age-specific guidelines in mind:

• Battery-operated toys should have battery cases secured with screws, so that kids cannot pry them open. Batteries and battery fluid pose serious risks, including choking, internal bleeding, and chemical burns.

• Choose sound toys that do not exceed 80-85 decibels. Exposure to noise over 85 dB for extended periods can cause permanent hearing loss. Some toys can generate decibel levels as high as 90-120 dB, which can be very harmful especially since children keep them close to the ear.

• Avoid dangerous items for young children, such as small magnets, button batteries, and latex balloons, and toys that fly or shoot objects.

• Watch for splinters or sharp edges on wooden toys.

• Choose paints, crayons, markers and other art materials that say “non-toxic”.

Thus, to make the playtime safe, give preference to toys and games that match your child’s age and skills. Read toy instructions carefully and explain them to your child. To enjoy the benefits of state-or-the-art toys — safety at play should come first!

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