Ensure Safe Play With These Toy Tips
September is Infant Safety Month. Toys can help infants explore and learn about the world around them. Parents need to think about safety when purchasing toys.
Infants and young toddlers love to explore by putting things in their mouths which can cause some serious safety concerns.
- Toys for infants and toddlers should be at least 1¼ by 2¼ inches; consider purchasing a choke tester tube to check toy size.
- Check toys for small removable parts or broken pieces as these can be choking hazards.
- Immediately discard any packaging from a new toy including plastic, plastic ties and small cardboard pieces.
- Be very careful of toys, books, greeting cards and games that contain nickel cadmium “button” batteries; these can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.
- Discuss toy safety with older children so that they know to keep toys with small parts out of reach of infants and toddlers
Other things to consider:
- Toys should be age appropriate. Pay attention to age recommendations and consider a child’s interests and skill level.
- Make sure toys can be cleaned or washed and pay attention to flammability of toys.
- Choose toys that are colorful, have various textures, and are made of non-toxic materials.
- Strings and cords on toys should be less than 7 inches in length, and should be monitored closely as they may pose a strangulation hazard.
- Find a website that lists recalls for children’s toys and equipment.
- Be cautious of homemade toys or craft show toys. Be sure they are painted with non-toxic paint and follow safety guidelines.
- Balloons are one of the most dangerous toys; never let children put uninflated balloons in their mouths and discard broken balloon pieces immediately
Toys can be a great thing for young children; it is up to parents to choose appropriate toys that are safe and fun. Always supervise young children’s play.
Patricia Bates is a Family Life Educator at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.