Although toys are made with safety in mind, no toy is totally safe. When toys break or are misused, they can become dangerous. These rules will help you choose and maintain safe toys.
Choose the Right Toys
All toys are age-graded for safety. Age-grades are guidelines that reflect the toy’s safety based on:
- Any choking or safety risks
- The physical skills a child needs to play with the toy
- How well a child can understand how to use the toy
- The interests, needs and abilities at different stages of a child’s development
Watch for Toy Dangers
- Small toys/toys with small parts.
To prevent choking in kids 3 or younger, make sure that toys and parts cannot fit inside an empty toilet paper tube or a choke tube. Soft baby toys should be large enough that they can’t be swallowed even when they are squished down. Check stuffed animals for eyes, noses and parts that can come off. Put small toys and toys with small parts out of reach when young ones are around.
- Sharp edges and points.
Toys made for older children may have sharp points or edges that can hurt a small child. As a parent or care-giver, avoid toys made from thin plastic that can break easily. Also, avoid giving toys with metal parts to toddlers and babies.
- Loud noises.
Toys that make shrill or loud noise, can damage your child’s hearing. Read warning labels for how to use them safely. To prevent this, try out toys in the store to check how loud they are.
- Toys that fly or shoot objects.
These kinds of toys can badly injure the eyes. Avoid toys that can fire things that were not originally made for use in the toy, such as pencils, sticks or nails. Arrows used by children should have soft tips made out of cork or rubber. You should definitely ensure your child wear safety glasses if you allow them to use toys that shoot objects.
- Cords and strings.
Toys with cords or strings about 7 inches long, can be harmful for babies and very young children. They can get wrapped around a child’s neck. Never hang toys with strings, cords or ribbons in cribs or playpens. Immediately you notice that your child can pull up on their hands and knees, remove all crib gems and hanging toys for their safety.
- Electric toys.
Keep electric toys away from babies and toddlers. Electric toys and toys that heat up are all right for children older than 8 years when used with an adult. Avoid fixing or making electric toys yourself. Ensure battery-operated toys have a cover that closes with screws to keep the batteries secure inside the toy.
- Toys with magnets.
If magnets come off or fall out of toys and your child swallows two or more of them, they can stick together inside the child’s body. This can cause injury or death. Young children should not play with toys with magnets. If older children play with toys with magnets, warn them not to put any magnets in their mouth.
Read the Toy Manuals/Instructions
We advise parents and caregivers to always pay special attention to the instructions stated on the packaging of the toys they buy. Manufacturers include these instructions or caution signs to ensure that adequate care is taken while children play with the toys.
In conclusion, always remember that the best way to protect your children is to watch them while they play.