Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell, Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education
Baby toy safety seems like common sense—until you think about everything those little hands grab onto (and stuff in their mouth). The following expert advice can help keep your baby safe during playtime.
1) Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest and skill level. Also, be aware of other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/flame resistant” or “Washable/Hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys, and learn how to clean baby toys of all types.
2) Discard any plastic wrapping from new toys immediately as it can pose a suffocation risk.
3) For children one and under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children this age learn through sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them.
4) Don’t give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc., they are choking hazards.
5) Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass—these toys should not be given to children under 8 years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.
6) Toys with strings, cords or ribbons of any kind should not be hung in or near cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled which can injury, or even death.
7) Teach older children to keep their toys that may have removable small parts, sharp points or toys ran on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them.
8) Keep toys and play equipment in good condition and discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries.
9) Supervision is essential; provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and during outdoor play. Toys get used and abused by children; regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.
10) Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls over them.
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.