How to Choose Safe Toys for Your Child
You probably have fond memories of the toys you had during childhood. Whether it was a beloved doll or a fun train set, the toys you had for your playtime made it all the more fun. However, as fun as toys can be, they can also be dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 200,000 toy-related injuries treated in emergency rooms each year, a third of which are children under age five. With this in mind, it is important to seriously consider what toys are best for your child. In the interest of keeping your kid safe, here are a few guidelines to help you choose toys that are safe.
Ensure They are Age-Appropriate
When you are selecting toys for your child, make sure they are age appropriate. In most cases, you should be able to find a sticker on the box that has recommended ages. When you are choosing an age-appropriate toy, think about your child’s maturity level and ability. For example, if you have a three year old who loves putting every toy he comes across in his mouth, you should avoid toys with small pieces until he grows out of that phase.
Keep Quality in Mind
Raising a child is expensive, so it makes sense that you would want to cut costs by buying cheap or used toys. However, lower quality toys are much more likely to be dangerous. Before purchasing a toy, make sure the many beads, batteries, buttons, ribbons, eyes, and plastic parts are not easy to chew or snap off. The toy should have no sharp edges or peeling paint. Ensure that your child will not be able to bite off a smaller part of the toy.
Until your child is older than three, it is wise to make sure that any toy you buy is bigger than their mouth to avoid choking hazards. If you need guidance, try fitting the toy through a toilet paper roll. If it fits, then it is not safe for a child under three.
Make Sure Your Child is Ready
Even if according to the box, your child is the right age for a toy, make sure that your child is physically ready. If your child is a naturally small person, some toys, such as bikes, may not be appropriate for their size yet. Buying a toy that your child will “grow into” is unwise because it may result in a serious injury if they are not ready for it.
Don’t Buy Balloons
Balloons might make for a fun decoration, but they are the main cause of fatal toy-related choking injuries in children. Uninflated or pieces of balloons can form a seal in a child’s airway, which in turn makes it impossible to breathe. Skip the balloons and lower your child’s risk of choking.
Keep it Light
Keep in mind how heavy a toy is before you buy it. Lift up the toy in the store and assess its weight. If it is heavy enough to cause harm in the event that it falls, try a different, lighter toy instead.
Avoid Long Cords
When choosing toys for your child, do not pick any toys that have a cord or string that is longer than a foot. Cords are a common cause of accidental strangulation among young children. Once your child is old enough to stand by themselves, remove any hanging mobiles from the crib. Be particularly mindful of older toys; for example, a fake phone in an older pretend kitchen might have a cord, whereas a newer model is more likely to be cordless.
Ditch Small Magnets
Magnets are what is known as a hidden home hazard. Magnets are often featured in children’s toys, but if they fall out, they could be swallowed by your child. If two or more magnets are swallowed, the magnets can be attracted each other through the intestines, causing blockages, holes, infection, or worse if the issue is not promptly addressed. This unfortunately common accident can be avoided if you keep toys with magnets away from children under 14.
Make Sure It’s Nontoxic
Even if a toy appears to be safe, it is best to double check what chemicals it is made out of. Phthalates are chemicals used in plastic to make it more flexible and last longer, and they are commonly used in toys, but it is toxic. Other toxins that may be present in toys include lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. Make sure that your child’s toys are made of nontoxic materials before giving them any toys.
At Softmats, we understand that it is important that your child isn’t exposed to any dangers with their toys. Your child’s toys should bring joy to their life, not harm. That is why we have made sure that our play mats are completely free of harmful toxins. We have high standards when it comes to our play mats; they must pass rigorous quality control standards and several tests to ensure that they are safe for children. If you are looking for a playmat for your child, you can’t go wrong with Softmats! Shop our collection today.