Toys and children are inseparable. These childhood treasures help your child to develop and learn critical skills that will come in handy later in life.
Though playthings play an important role in the life of your child, toy safety should be observed in order to keep the child safe while enjoying his playthings.
Every year millions of toys are produced by manufacturers to entice parents and kids to get new playthings for fun and development.
At the same time each year, hundred of kids are treated in health facilities for toy -related complications including chocking and strangulation.
Parents usually give old and hand-me-down toys from their friends and family to their toddlers. While this will save you from buying new toys, it also comes with certain risks.
Such toys may not meet current safety standards and may be so worn out from play that they are highly likely to break down and become hazardous.
Some toys produce various sounds which are meant to stimulate the baby’s senses, however noise from rattles, musical and squeak toys should not be as loud as a car horn.
Toys that produce loud noises can damage the child’s hearing capabilities when the toddler holds the toy close to the ears.
7 Toy Safety Tips for Toddlers
Here are some toy safety tips to help you along:
1- Age suitability
Different toys are designed with various ages in mind. Before buying toys for you kid you should consider if the toys are suitable for his or her age.
Most toys have a recommended age sticker; this is based on the safety considerations. Checking this sticker will assist you to make up your mind on whether your child deserves that toy or not.
Apart from ensuring that the toys are age-appropriate you should also ensure that the child’s physical and mental ability can handle that toy.
Do not be tempted to buy a bicycle that is one size too big to save on buying a new one when the kids get bigger.
While doing this may save your cash in the short term, such a bike may end up hurting the child as he may not have physical skills to safely control the bigger bike.
While most parents happily leave their toddlers to enjoy their toys as they go about their daily chores, younger children should not be left unsupervised with certain toys.
Always check the sticker on the toys for warnings and instructions and ensure you follow them.
3- Toy quality
High quality toys tend to last longer unlike low-quality toys that are likely to disintegrate quite fast. Always consider choosing playthings that are well made as you are better off with high quality playthings.
Check for sharp edges, small parts and loose hairs as these pose a high risk to your child. Tails should be sewn securely, paint should not be peeling off and seams of stuffed animals should be reinforced.
4- Toy size
Avoid buying toys that are tiny or have small parts as these can be swallowed by toddlers. Be particularly keen with toys for children under 3 years.
Most states have laws that stipulate that toys can have small parts as long as they are clearly marked as not suitable for children under 36 months.
5- Strings and cords
Some toys may have strings and cords that are as long as 12 inches (30 cm). Such toys can be risky as the cords can be easily wrapped around a young child’s neck resulting in strangulation.
On the other hand if your child is capable of climbing on his knees and hands, you should consider removing hanging mobiles and cot gyms from his cot.
6- One toy at a time
You should always encourage the toddler to play with one toy at a time, to be tidy and put toys away after the play session. This rule should apply when the child at school, playground or home.
Tidying up and putting away the toys not only helps the child to be responsible but also prevents accidents caused by people tripping over toys left behind after the play session.
7- Battery safety
Many modern toys are battery-powered which makes them easy to manipulate, however problems can occur if the batteries are not used properly.
If you intend to buy battery-powered toys for your child, ensure that you take care to fit the batteries the right way. Observe the – and + marks on the batteries as well as on the toy battery compartment.
When placing batteries, use the same type and always replace a complete set to avoid old batteries from leaking.
Once you remove the spent batteries from toys, do not leave them lying around as the children are hopelessly curious and will start playing with them. In addition ensure that such batteries do not come into contact with fire as they are likely to explode.
Small batteries used in electronic games and some watches present real risks to toddlers as they can choke on them or swallow them which can cause poisoning.
To avoid such incidents, avoid leaving such batteries within reach of the toddler.