I am a thirty-five year old proud mother of two beautiful children and I love toys. It’s insane not to love them. Every time I hit a toy store with my children, I feel the same energy and enthusiasm I use to feel when I was a little girl. As parents it hardly ever crosses our minds that toy-related injuries happen and can lead to something as severe as death. Today I want to share with you some things to consider before buying toys for toddlers.
Below is some information from a report for Toy Related Deaths and Injuries issued by CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission). These statics come from 2016 and 2017.
- About 240,000 toy-related injuries were reported and treated in U.S hospital emergency departments in the year 2016.
- In the year 2017, a 21-year old toddler reportedly swallowed a small ball he was playing with. The ball stuck in his airway and he was pronounced dead due to asphyxia after 5 days.
- According to the report of 2017, 36% of the toy-related fatalities were suffered by children below 5 years.
The toys you buy should meet the following CPSC guidelines:
- If you are buying painted toys, make sure the paint is lead-free.
- The materials of the toys should be non-toxic
- The materials should be flame resistant.
- Always buy washable soft toys
- Avoid letting your child play with old toys or toys that don’t meet the CPSC regulated safety standards.
If you think that your child has been exposed to toys containing plastic bits or lead, immediately get his/her blood tested to check the lead levels.
Top Things to Consider before Buying Toys
1.Read the Label: It goes without saying that you should carefully read the label to find out what age the toy is appropriate for and playing instructions to ensure safety. Makes sure that the label says “non-toxic”.
2. Age Limit: The age limit for a toy depends on the safety factor. Even if your child is smarter and more physically fit for his age, you shouldn’t let him play with toys designed for older kids.
3. Projectile Toys: This I can say from my personal experience. Do not let your toddler play with toys that shoot objects in the air such as darts, air guns or rocket. They are extremely dangerous and I don’t even need to explain why.
4. Pointy Ends: Watch out for toys that project sharp edges. A small shift of attention and it can lead to fatal injuries.
5. Size Matters: Avoid plastic toys with small parts or loose ends. These small bits are easily indigestible and can lead to choking hazards.
Other factors to take into account when buying a toy for a child under age three.
Foster Physical Activity
Toys should not only spark your child’s imagination but also promote physical growth. Wheel toys such as activity walkers, tricycles, and three-wheeled scooters promote cognitive development, hand-to-eye coordination of your children.
According to statics 2,000 US kids go to the emergency room every year because of baby walkers.. Over the past two decades, safety standards, have been put in place in the US to insure safety, like making sure walkers were wider than door frames, and insuring walkers are equipped with specialized wheels for carpet floor .
If you are going to purchase a walker insure you purchase a baby walker with a wide base. Walkers with wide bases will prevent your baby from fitting through doorways. Sport a walker with an adjustable height. Choose a baby walker that allows your baby to maneuver easily. When you have carpeting throughout the house it can be frustrating. I looked at many walkers and found that Playskool Step Start Walk ‘n Ride is the best baby walker for carpet.
Colorful toys are attractive and if they produce soothing music, then that’s even better. Child psychologists have gone on record stating that different colors, texture of toys, and sound of toys educate your child about cause and effect and encourage them to explore the surroundings.
Toys can be both fun and educational. Wooden puzzles, shape-sorters construction and stacking toys are proven to foster the logic, reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Apart from the above-mentioned factors, there are a few other things you can and should do to ensure optimal safety for your children while playing with toys. First and foremost, keep an eye on your kids when they are playing. Secondly, take your time to buy toys that grow with your child. And last but not the least, aside from all the safety aspects, be sure to pick toys that promote all the essential aspects of your child’s mental and physical development.
Alvina Emmy is a mother of two and the owner of parentloves.com a website sharing information on children’s health, baby food, pregnancy, parenting tips and baby product reviews.