How Safe Are Your Kid’s Toys?

toy safetyToy safety goes beyond the materials that toys are  made from and includes selecting age appropriate  toys, storing toys away properly, maintaining your  toys as well as being careful around cords and toys  with small objects.

We all have to be vigilant regarding the safety of  our toys since our children are the ones who will  be playing with them and children, especially  those under the age of 3 years, will not always  know when toys are unsafe for them.

Heed Toy Instructions Carefully

Instructions that come with toys are there for a  reason and should be heeded well.
First of all, only buy age appropriate toys, so if  your child is 2 years old, do not give them toys  that are recommended for children aged 3 and above.

If they are given presents by others that are not  age appropriate, put these toys away and get them  out again when your child is old enough to play  with those toys.

Plastic wrappings on toys can be fatal, so throw  these away as soon as your child has opened their  new toy.

Always read labels – they will give you good  advice. Look out for and note those toys that have  labels indicating: Flame retardant or flame  resistant, which means this item is not going to  catch fire or burn easily.

Always read the instructions on toys made out of  fabric and ensure you know how to keep  soft toys clean.  After all, as well as safety, you  want to ensure the toys your children play with are  kept clean and hygienic. This is especially  important in the case of babies who tend to want to  put everything in their mouth.

Toys With Small Parts Can Be Dangerous

For example, if a particular toy poses a potential  choking hazard, you should find a label or warning  on that toy indicating that this toy is not  suitable for children under the age of 3 years.
Even some plush toys such as the plush My Pillow Pets, although soft and fluffy and hard to believe  that they would cause any potential harm, they do  come with a warning and they are not suitable for  children under the age of 3 years.  Because a child  could choke on the fur, or bite some of the fur off  and it could get stuck in their throat.

A 2 year old is not going to know that biting or  pulling fur off a plush toy could be potentially  fatal.  That’s why, it’s up to us, the parents, the  babysitters, the carers, to look out for our  children.  They won’t know, they can’t read, they  don’t yet understand what is safe and what is not.  And often, something that seems like a lot of fun  for an 18 month old, is clearly not fun at all.

When it comes to small parts, you have to not only  look out for toys that come in small pieces, such  as Lego building sets, which are often  for children aged 3 or over, but you have to stay  aware of any toys which might have broken or have  had small parts break off them.  This is another  hazard.

Consider this scenario: You might have bought a car  which was age appropriate for your 3 year old.  However, over time and with wear and tear, a part  of the car broke and exposed parts small enough to  be swallowed or pieces that could end up becoming  lodged in your child’s ears, nose or even his  windpipe.  Clearly, this now becomes a toy that is  unsafe.

Actually, it is against the law to have small parts  in new toys manufactured for 3 year olds or younger  children.  This also means that for companies whose  product line includes soft toys or dolls, if these  toys have eyes and nose that are sewn on and could  potentially fall off again, then these toys cannot  be sold to children aged 3 and under.

So, there are laws in place to ensure that toys are  manufactured to strict safety standards, however,  as parents, we need to always be on the lookout for  toys that have become old and broken and are now  potentially dangerous.

It’s a good idea to go through your children’s toy  boxes every 3 months, or sooner, and remove all  broken toys.

Sharp Edges and Pointy Bits On Toys

By law, new toys that are manufactured for children  aged 8 years and under must not have any sharp  glass or metal edges.  Whilst this law ensure that  new toys bought are safe, remember that toys that  are old can break with wear and tear and this  process might reveal parts/edges that are sharp.

Therefore, always go through your children’s toys  and discard those that are broken or damaged in  anyway.

Check your children’s wooden toys, such as  any wooden building blocks, and see if any of  the wooden parts have rubbed off each other to  expose splinters. If so, sand these smoothly down.

By the way, this also relates to outdoor play  equipment too. You need to check this regularly and   ensure all parts on swings and  outdoor play slides are working and not damaged  in any way.

Encourage Your Children To Look After Their  Toys

Teaching your children to look after their toys and  putting them away properly once they have finished  playing will be a great help for you and good  discipline for them.

After all, you don’t want to make a habit of  clearing up after them when they have had a whole  day of play and toys are strewn all over the floor.
If you are buying lightweight plastic storage  boxes, where the lids comes off completely and can  put back on again, these are good. If you have  wooden toy boxes for your children, the ones where  the lid lifts up but is still attached to the box  at one end (rather like the trunk of a car), then  make sure the lid will stay open in any position  and is not loose enough to come down on your  child’s head when he or she is putting their toys  away.

Toys That Go Bang!

Toy guns and toy caps that make very loud noises  could potentially damage hearing.  Ideally, avoid  toys such as these if you can.

You will often find a label that says “Warning – Do   not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not  use indoors” on some of these toys and you should  heed that warning well.

Plastic Wrapping, Cords & Strings Are Dangerous for Kids

This has been mentioned earlier but we felt it was  important to stress again.  The plastic wrapping  that some toys come in should be thrown away  immediately once your child has opened their new  toys.

All too often the excitement of getting a  new toy and opening it get the better of everyone,  and it is all too easy to forget the plastic  wrapping.

Unfortunately, in the hands of a baby or  toddlers, this can be deadly, so we urge you to  think safety first and throw away all plastic  wrapping immediately.

Uninflated Balloons Are A Death Hazard

Balloons might seem like fun decoration for parties   and children love them but it is a shocking fact  that more children have suffocated on broken or  uninflated balloons that on any other type of toy.

Always be wary of toys that have long strings or  So, if you are hosting a party or are attending a  party and there are balloons around, make sure you  throw away those that break. Don’t leave these  lying around for your child, or other children, to  put into their mouth.

cords attached to them, especially for very young  children, because they can easily become entangled  around your child’s neck and cause strangulation.

For this reason, you need to be extra careful when  buying baby gyms or toys that have long ribbons,  cords or loops that could potentially get wrapped  around a baby’s neck.

If you take note of these things and use common  sense when buying toys for your children, you will  ensure that your child will have a fun time playing  with toys that are safe.

If the toys are safe, your child is safe from harm from those toys too.

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