Children love the idea of having plenty of toys, and they derive hours of enjoyment playing with them. While many parents use toys to keep their children entertained while they are busy or to keep them calm or quiet, it is important to ensure that their safety is a top priority. This is not surprising, considering that there are numerous reports each year of children suffering from toy-related injuries.
Keeping children safe while playing with toys
Parents should be vigilant when they give new toys to their children. They should carefully inspect the toys to ensure that children will not get bruises, scrapes and minor cuts from toys. In some cases, various toys have caused serious injuries, or worse, death.
Safety tips on buying toys
Here are some tips on choosing safe and age-appropriate toys for your kids.
1. Read the label. Warning labels are included on the package to inform buyers on how to use the toy and the recommended age level. Do not just hand the toy in its box to the child, as the packaging may have sharp edges that can cause injuries. Remove the toy from its packaging, scrutinize it and check the movable parts before giving it your child. One thing parents should not forget is to show their children how to use the toy properly.
2. Buy toys with parts larger than the child’s mouth. Very young children tend to put anything they are holding into their mouths. With young children who cannot follow instructions and safety precautions, get them large toys with fixed parts so they cannot put them into their mouths. You have to prevent accidental choking or swallowing.
3. Avoid toys that make deafening sounds, to avoid damaging their ears. Likewise, do not buy toys that shoot small objects into the air to prevent children from swallowing or choking on small parts and injuring their eyes or any part of their body.
4. Stuffed toys should be well made, with parts that are tightly sewn and secure. See to it that the stuffed toy is machine washable and filled with stuffing that cannot cause suffocation or choking. Remove strings or decorative ribbons that may strangulate very young children.
5. Choose toys appropriate to the age of the child. Find high-quality toys that indicate which age can play with the toy. For example, Playmobil Princess is recommended by the manufacturer for girls ages four to ten. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Toys that are made for older children will not have lasting appeal to younger children and vice-versa.
6. Ensure that toys are made from non-toxic materials such as paints containing lead. Choose plastic toys that are sturdy and made from thick plastic, so they do not break or crack easily.
7. Buy electric toys that are Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL)-approved. Moreover, make sure only older children use battery-operated toys.
Even if a young child shows interest in physics or chemistry, it would not be smart to give them chemistry sets or hobby kits. These types of playthings are suitable for children aged 12 and older. Find other toys to nurture their interest, such as science books illustrated in full colour or a magnifying glass with light. Find more guidelines and tips on buying toys safely from toy industry organizations, childcare practitioners and other concerned organizations.