Throughout human history, children have played with toys of one kind or another. And now with modern technology and manufacturing, our kids have more toys to choose from than any other generation.
But a problem of plenty also brings several headaches for parents, How do you choose the best and safest toy for your child?
1. Why Kids Need Safety When They Play With Toys:
Toys play an integral part in the life of kids. We have all had our share of favorite toys while growing up. And though we may not realize it, our favorite doll or action figure played a crucial role in our early emotional development.
But in these days of mass manufacturing, parents have to exercise caution while buying toys for their kids. If not, it can even result in severe harm or injury to kids.
2. Importance Of Kids Toy For Childhood Development:
Toys are not just mere playthings that help distract kids and keep them occupied. All children’s experts agree that toys can have a massive impact on the various aspects of a child’s mental and physical growth and development.
Toys have a positive impact in the following areas;
Handling toys and moving them around helps refine a child’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They can also help improve body strength, and overall balance and coordination. Toys can also help prevent obesity in young kids.
Emotional & Cognitive Benefits
Children often use toys to express their emotions. This can happen through play acting and using imaginary worlds and situations. So they help boost the creative power in the brain as well. They also help children make decisions, solve problems and improves their memory and cognition.
Toys can help kids learn and improve their social skills. Using toys, kids often interact with adults and other kids. They challenge kids to indulge in social interactions with others.
3. Toy Safety Guidelines:
Toys look incredibly cute, colorful, and not at all threatening. But that is, of course, a marketing ploy to attract and hold the attention of young kids and their parents. The underlying reality can be very scary. When proper safety precautions are absent, toys are genuinely hazardous for kids.
In the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 250,000 toy-related injuries to children in 2015 alone. Nearly a third of those incidents involved kids under the age of five years. The use of toxic and inappropriate materials in toys can lead to long-term consequences.
Even when made using safe materials, the shape and design of the toy can be dangerous if used for inappropriate age groups. Moving or detachable parts are always a significant hazard for smaller children and infants.
Always follow these common safety guidelines when buying toys for children:
Pick Age-Appropriate Toys
All toys have a “recommended age” guideline prominently displayed on their packaging. Always start with this feature. Some toys are never a good idea for young kids and infants.
Toys with projectiles or moving parts are a perfect example. Avoid small toys and parts when buying for 2 or 3-year-olds who put everything in their mouths.
Choose Toys That Are Well-Made
Always make it a point to check all the toys you buy for their build quality, whether old or new. Focus on smaller parts like buttons, ribbons, beads, and others that can be easily ripped off or chewed off.
Make sure that everything is secure. Avoid toys with sharp edges, peeling paint, or ripped seams.
For kids under the age of 3, bigger toys are always better. This will avoid any chance of choking. You can test for choking hazards by using a toilet paper roll. Any toy that fits through the hole is a choking hazard.
Make Sure Your Child Is Physically Ready For The Toy
Don't anticipate your child’s growth an buy a toy that is larger. Think about bikes for example. Buying a bigger bike now so that it will fit your kid for several years may seem like a smart idea. But in the present, it may lead to injuries if the bike is too big for your kid.
Skip The Balloons
They may be fun to play with and lovely to look at, but balloons are very dangerous. They are the main cause of choking deaths in children. If swallowed the latex will seal a child’s airways, choking it to death.
Don't Pick Heavy Toys
Is the toy heavy enough to cause injury to your child if it were to fall over? If yes, then you should avoid that toy.
Don't Pick Toys With A String Or Cord Longer Than 12 Inches
Long cords can lead to strangulation. Be particularly careful when dealing with infants who are learning to climb on hands and knees. Remove crib toys that hang from threads.
Be careful when dealing with older model toys, like corded telephones for instance. Anything longer than 12 inches can potentially wrap around a child’s neck and cause choking.
Avoid Toys With Small Magnets
The CPSC has singled out powerful magnets as particularly hazardous. Small magnets used in toys tend to fall off. These then become choking hazards.
When swallowed, a strong magnet can attract metal objects through the walls of a child’s intestine. This can lead to serious internal injuries as well. CPSC recommends that kids below 14 years should not be given toys with magnets.
Watch Out For Toxic Toys
Toxic plastic toys briefly caused a major scare in the recent past. That threat is all too real even now. Harmful compounds called phthalates, mercury, lead, and cadmium is chemicals you can potentially find in toys, dolls, and action figures.
4. Top Safe Kids Toys:
The following is a list of fun toys that your kids are sure to love. These award-winning toys also happen to be among the safest toys on the market.
Skip Hop Playmat
This is more a playroom fixture than a toy. But it is still a must have, due to the safety and protection it gives your infant.
It is the perfect addition to any room where small kids are learning to walk. The colors are gender neutral and should fit most room decors.
Vulli Sophie Giraffe
A small one-piece rubber toy, this is perfect for kids who are still teething. It is safe to put in the mouth and does not pose any choking risk. It squeaks when squeezed, and gives your child valuable audio-visual and tactile stimulation.
IQ Baby Knock Knock Blocks
The blocks are in the shape of colorful cubes and black and white triangles. These are perfect for infants and toddlers to play around with. The set includes 16 different pieces. Kids can move them around and throw them safely during play. They are also very durable.
Manhattan Toy Stim Mobile
The toy stim mobile is a versatile toy that can be attached to your baby’s stroller, car seat or crib. So this toy can be a constant companion for your baby with a minimum of fuss or effort. It will also keep her occupied for hours and hours.
Sassy Bumpy Ball
The bumpy ball has lots of different textured surfaces, and shapes. The soft and squishy toy is safe for kids and provides tactile stimulation.
Manhattan Toy Skwish Rattle
This rattle is made from pure, sustainable wood. The material is free from any chemical dyes. The toy is perfectly safe for newborns.
And it should last them for at least several years as an interesting companion. The elastic ties on the rattle provide extra stimulation.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym
Full of color, lights, sounds, and music, this toy can hold the attention of your baby for hours. The rattling beads and moving animals make this a fascinating toy. It is made from kid-safe materials.
This is an excellent jumper for kids with a unique base. It offers two times the bounce, so your kids can get more exercise. It is also very safe, due to a soft landing pad.
Kids love toys. And parents should too, because of the positive impact they can have on their child. Also because they can distract your kids and keep them busy!
But you need to exercise caution and care when choosing toys. Otherwise, they can cause sometimes irreparable harm to your child.