TOYS, like clothes and books, serve their purpose in the development of every child. They are childhood treasures, not only because they are perfect to entertain or calm our fussy tiny humans, but also because they form a key part of our children's development. Unfortunately, they can also cause injury to the child if safety guidelines are not followed.
To ensure the safety of your infants and toddlers, here are some Baby Steps-approved safety tips that you should keep in mind when toy-shopping for your child:
1 Adhere to age recommendations
The manufacturers of toys usually put a lot of thought into their design before producing them. As such, purchasing suitable toys, based on your child's age, is important because that way you are sure that they have the physical ability and maturity to navigate or to learn about and master the use of the toy.
2 Consider the toy size
The age recommendation for toys goes hand-in-hand with toy size. For smaller children, you want to choose bigger toys that are lightweight. However, make sure that they do not have small parts.
3 Supervise your child at playtime
Some studies suggest allowing your child adequate time to play unsupervised, but you might want to be sure that if they are with toys that could pose a potential risk — for example, those with small parts — that you do not leave him/her unsupervised. These small parts could act as a choking hazard. A part of supervising them is making sure that when they are through with these toys they put them away so that they or others do not trip on them.
4 Toys with batteries
Many toys require batteries in order to carry out their functions properly. As such, you want to make sure that the batteries are secure in the toy and the children are unable to access them. In addition, you want to make sure that if you ever remove the batteries that you do not leave them around where the baby or toddler can access them. Small children like to put things into their mouth and as such, they are choke hazards.
5 Discard toy wrapping
Do you want to know what is more appealing to children than the actual toys? The plastic wrapping that you took them from. It is, therefore, important that you get rid of these immediately, because they can suffocate your child.
6 Pay close attention to material that toys are made from
Be careful not to be sold by the idea of awesome cheap toys. If it seems too good to be true, then chances are it may be. Some cheaply-made toys are manufactured using toxic chemical, for example, rubber, paint, or weak plastic. You want to avoid those at all costs because they pose potential health risks for your baby.
7 Check the condition of toys regularly
No matter how sturdy toys are in the beginning, when children constantly clamber and chew on toys, chances are they might get broken. If they do, you want to make sure that they are discarded so that they cannot injure your little ones.
8 Check toys for potential hazards
Check toys for sharp edges; these can scrape or puncture a child's delicate skin. Also, look for strings, ribbons, and wires, particularly those that are long and which could restrict blood supply or strangle him/her. For smaller children, choose toys that are free of buttons and other small loose parts that the child could put in his or her mouth and choke on. You should also choose lighter toys for small children to prevent crushing or other injury.
9 Practise toy hygiene
Germs are every, including... you guessed it, on your kids' toys. Apart from touching and playing with these toys, we know that kids also like to chew on just about anything they get their hands on. With this in mind, it is important to get washable toys. Wash toys regularly to prevent harmful germs from invading your baby's body.
10 Routinely check outdoor toys
Check outdoor toys regularly since they are exposed to the elements and can easily rust. You also want to make sure that when you install all equipment, such as swings, that they are sturdy so that they don't fall apart and turn over on your child while at play. You also need to teach your child safety rules for the use of tools, equipment, and outdoor toys. Make sure that you also provide them with and insist that they wear safety gears such as helmets, knee and elbow pads where necessary.