Millions of toys are in the market and manufacturers continue to introduce new ones every year. Toys are meant to be for fun. They are a significant part of a child’s development. However, many children are treated in hospitals for toy-related injuries. Children who are three years old or younger are at risk of choking as they like to put objects into their mouth. Toy manufacturers follow some guidelines and label the majority of toys for particular age groups. And parents have the responsibility to supervise their child’s play.
Things to Look for in Toys
Toys are closely monitored and regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Any toys made or imported into the country after 1995 should comply with the agency’s standards. Below are some guidelines to remember when buying toys for your toddlers and preschoolers.
- Stuffed toys must be washable.
- Toys that are made of fabric must be labeled as flame retardant or resistant.
- Art materials must not be toxic.
- Printed toys must be covered with paint free of lead.
Do not buy older toys or those given by family and friends. While such toys are likely to have sentimental value and are cost-effective, they may not meet the current safety standard. In fact, they can be quite worn from play which makes them prone to breaking making it dangerous for your child.
What’s Safe for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers
Do not forget to read labels to ensure you get a toy that is appropriate for the age of your child. The CPSC guidelines can be help in such buying decisions. Take into account your child’s behavior, habits and temperament every time you purchase a new toy. Here are some age-specific guidelines to remember.
- Toy Size.
Buy toys that are at least 1.25 inches in diameter and 2.25 inches in length to ensure your child cannot swallow them. A choke tube or small -parts tester can determine if a toy is quite small. Such tubes are made to be around the same diameter as the windpipe of your child. In case an object fits inside the tube, it is too small for your young child.
Stay away from coins, games with balls, balls and marbles that are 1.75 inches in diameter or less as they can become lodged in your child’s throat above the windpipe which will limit breathing.
- Battery-operated toys.
These toys must have battery cases which secure with screws so children cannot pry them open. Battery fluid and batteries pose serious risks that include internal bleeding, choking and chemical burns.
- Toy Durability.
As you check out toys for your baby or toddler, ensure they are not breakable and strong enough to withstand chewing.
Baby Steps Daycare / Preschool, a reputable daycare and preschool provider in Forest Hills, New York, suggests that one must find toys that do not have small parts such as wheels, eyes or buttons or sharp ends.
- Manufacturer’s recommendation.
The majority of toys can be used when your child can sit up well with support. However, check the recommendation of the manufacturer. Riding toys such as wagons and rocking horses must come with safety straps or harnesses and can be secure and stable enough to prevent tipping.
- Homemade or hand-me-down toys.
These toys must be carefully assessed. Perhaps they have not undertaken safety testing. Avoid giving your infant painted toys that are made before 1978 because they may have paint which contains lead.
Keeping Children’s Toys Safe at Home
After buying safe toys, ensure your child knows how to use them so supervise play. Playing with him will teach him how to safely play while having fun. You have to teach your child how to put away his toys. Check his toys on a regular basis to ensure they can still be used and in great shape. If there are broken toys, either repair them immediately or throw them away. Finally, outdoor toys must be stored if they are not in use to prevent them from being exposed to snow or rain.