It can be challenging for parents to know what toys are safe for baby. Playtime is so important for a child’s development. Not to mention that adorable, memorable look on his or her face when a new toy is introduced to playtime. But are those baby toys safe?
Every parent has seen their baby stuff a toy in their mouth. Parents also know the frightening moment baby is chewing on a small toy, or tiny toy piece. Did they swallow anything? Should I call an ambulance?
A U.S. Product Safety Commission report on toy deaths and injuries estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries in 2016. There were also seven toy-related deaths, three of which were riding toy vehicle accident deaths.
Not a happy thought for any parent, but important nonetheless. Keep your baby from being a statistic with the following 5 ways parents can make sure baby toys are safe.
1. Identify Dangerous Toys
There are a number of dangers toys present. As a parent, you are essentially the last quality assurance agent of any toy that ends up in your baby’s little hands. Here are a few dangers to be on the lookout for.
- Small toys or tiny toy parts that can be put in the mouth.
- Sharp edged toys that may injury your baby’s eyes, ears, or mouth if eaten.
- Small magnets that can be swallowed, or toys with magnet parts.
- Toys will cords, strings, or straps that could get wrapped around your baby’s neck.
- Any toy with electrical parts, including batteries.
- Easy to break toys that can cause harm if in small pieces.
- Toxic chemicals in toys, like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, etc.
Don’t forget the dangers of those spur-of-the-moment toys children can pick up while enjoying a little playtime in nature. A watchful eye is important.
2. Do Your Toy Due Diligence
Parents should be keeping up on toy trends and dangers online. Do you know how many toy/product recalls there were in the past four months? Shockingly, there were 71 toy recalls since the beginning of 2018.
That is a lot of recalled toys! Knowing what toys are dangerous via online reviews and ratings is important. You very well could have a recalled toy in your baby’s playroom.
Online toy buying could also be risky when it comes to recalled toys. Research from the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups Education Fund found that dozens of recalled toys might still be listed online for sale.
3. Be Hesitant About Hand Me Down Toys
Hand me down toys may be free, fun, and potentially have a bit of sentimental value attached, but they may be dangerous. The wear and tear on old toys makes them more susceptible to damage from baby. This could result in small pieces becoming choking hazards.
An old hand me down toy, or toy bought second hand could be a toy that was recalled many years ago. This could expose your child to toxic chemicals or dangerous parts that have caused baby injuries in the past.
It may be expensive, and not as sentimental, but purchasing new toys could be a safer bet for your little one. “While it's tempting to accept any secondhand item another parent offers, there are some things that probably should not be handed down,” Monica Beyer of Business Insider explained.
4. Pay Attention to Age Limits and Labels
Age recommendations are there for a reason, and parents should pay attention to them. If your baby is too young for a toy based on age limit, it is an automatic hazard for your baby.
Reading labels and instructions of toys is also vital to ensuring a toy is safe for your baby. This includes the list of materials that were used in making the toy. You may even identify potential screws to tighten, like the battery cover screws that always wiggle their way out.
Not following age limits and labels also puts you at risk for not being compensated if that toy is recalled and did cause harm to your baby. “The success of many cases hinges on very specific and sometimes minute details,” personal injury attorney JR Reyna explained.
5. Think Beyond the Toy
Ensuring baby toys are safe can even go beyond the toy itself. A safe toy can become a dangerous one when in a hazardous playtime environment. Before it’s time to crawl down onto to the floor for some baby play, you should ensure the surroundings are safe.
A few playtime safety tips include:
- Take an inventory of the toy chest. What toys need to be tossed due to dangerous broken pieces?
- Make sure toys are stored safely. Remember, lids are bad.
- Do a sweep of the playtime floor to ensure no hazards are present. This could range from broken diaper straps to a dime sized cookie shard from days before.
- Always supervise baby playtime. If you can think of something bad, chances are it can happen.
- Keep toys separate if you have an older child. The two toys may have different age limits, making them dangerous for baby.
Wrapping Up . . .
Baby toy safety is priority number one. Every parent knows what to do, but as all of us parents know, what we know and what we can accomplish daily with baby underfoot are two different things. Stay current on toy safety and give yourself a reminder every so often. Are your baby’s toys safe for playtime?