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Picking Safe Toys for Children

— December 11, 2018

Child safety is an important topic, especially at the holidays. Picking safe gifts is a great way to keep the season merry and bright.

Back in the day, people were seldom concerned about picking safe toys for their children. Children would consider anything and everything around them as toys.

However, as civilization progressed, rules and guidelines took over our simple world. Hence, now children are not allowed to pick whatever as play material, since choosing unsafe toys can lead to serious repercussions.

There are several incidents of young children getting injured from playing with toys that were clearly unsafe for them. This is why safety standards were established, and you must all be aware of these standards before purchasing toys for your toddlers and preschoolers.

Avoid Hand-me-downs

Some toys have sentimental value, and we feel super bad turning those gifts down. But in order to ensure the safety of your children, you have to say “no”.

Hand-me-downs are not only unhygienic, but the materials they are made up of may also be worn out as well. These types of toys don’t usually meet the safety standards set up by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

When these toys break, the old materials inside can cause injury or even serious ailments in the infants or toddlers. For this reason, steer clear of them.

Check the Audio-visual Programming

Children are sensitive by nature. Buying toys with extreme audio-visual effects can have a devastating effect on their eyes and ears.

We are so used to these toys, we probably never thought that the sound they produce and the lights they display can cause harm. Some children, out of curiosity, even hold the toys near their ears or eyes. Eventually, these toys have been responsible for hearing damages and eye injuries.

Laser and flashlights are common features that toy manufacturers include in their toys for attractiveness.

However, after knowing the above, parents and family members should avoid purchasing game items with these features.

Be Mindful of the Size of the Toys

"Quality" spelled in Lego-style blocks; image via, CC0.
“Quality” spelled in Lego-style blocks; image via, CC0.

Children can easily swallow small toys like balls, coins, balloons, and marbles, then choke on them. So, avoid purchasing these toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Buy small toys larger than 2 inches for safety.

Small batteries when swallowed or chewed can have serious repercussions since they are made of alkaline and other unsafe fluids. The fluid can cause hemorrhage and internal burns.

Needless to say, you must not buy toys with sharp ends, strings, slippery segments, and parts that can pinch or come off easily. Additionally, toys manufactured from thin plastic can break and cut your children, so make sure to buy toys made of thick plastic.

Finally, watch out for magnets and magnetic parts, especially the tiny ones. If swallowed, they can block the intestines. So please be careful.

Right Toys for the Right Person

It goes without question that you have to get the right toys for the right age of your kids. For example, toys for one-year-old boys that help build and promote activity are excellent choices. The kids would love them and would learn a lot from playing with them as well.

For girls one to six, there is no replacement dolls, stuffed animals, various Lego-style blocks and musical toys, memory games, etc.

It is advised that no matter how smart and witty your kids are, don’t let them play with toys that are not suitable for their age. Those toys were not recommended for younger children simply because they did not meet the safety standards.

Not All Drawing Materials are Safe

We can’t imagine kids without crayons and papers. But we have to – if their life is at risk. You must check the product labels for toxic materials before purchasing the items. Make sure to get the ones that are safe to handle.

Crayon packages should state ‘ASTM D-4236’, which means that the American Society for Testing and Materials have assessed the product to be safe for children to play with.

The American Society for Testing and Materials evaluates crayons, chalks, paints and other homogeneous materials from containing metal, such as lead.

To be noted, wearing or touching toys with lead paint on won’t cause much harm, but swallowing or chewing them will increase the level of lead in the child’s bloodstream. High level of lead in the bloodstream can induce anemia, brain damage, kidney damage, and even death.

Suggestions for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Toddlers don’t need heavy toys. They also don’t need brain teasers. Keep their play materials simple.

All safety-approved toys will have labels stating their age appropriateness. It is hard to miss since the labels for age appropriateness are designed to catch attention.

You don’t have to get your toddlers bikes and heavy motor toys. They can wait a few more years to play with those. You also don’t want the big toys falling over on your children and hurting them.

We can’t imagine parties without balloons. Yet latex balloons are responsible for choking in many toddlers. So, keep your precious ones away from them.

On the other hand, preschoolers find crayons, Lego-style blocks, marbles, and hand games more fun to play with. You are already aware of skipping tiny Lego-style pieces and marbles for safety purposes.

Though it is unlikely for the preschoolers to swallow games, their curious and childish nature may induce them to try out how the surface tastes like. Electronic parts are not designed for tasting.

Apart from that, the noise from these games may cause hearing damage when it is constantly used. Also, staring at the plastic screen for long hours can result in poor eyesight.

Though we have a number of toys to choose from, you should be mindful of your purchases when it comes to children. Children need adults to provide them with a safe environment and safe toys.

Until those children are grown up and mature enough to understand what safety means, it is your responsibility to assist them.

Lastly, buy toys that are appropriate for their age and personality.

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