You asked

I’ve heard that some toys for babies and toddlers aren’t safe. What do I need to know?

We’d like to think that toys are designed to make children happy – not to harm them. However, with toy recalls in the news, and plenty of children injured each year even from safe toys, there’s a lot to think about when buying your baby or toddler toys. Here are a few things you should consider:

Always consider whether the toys are age appropriate. Most toys have stickers on them indicating the age range they’re designed for. Make sure that you stick to those, as they’re a guideline to what’s suitable for your child’s developmental age.

All toys for babies and toddlers should be large – no small moving parts please! That’s because small toys or toys with small parts pose a choking risk.

Another factor is weight. If the toy is too large for your child to lift, then it’s not suitable for him or her yet.

Avoid long cords too – these could easily wrap around your child neck or limbs, causing injury or worse.

Make sure that your child is physically ready for the toy you’ve bought. For instance, don’t buy a bike that’s too big, so that your child ‘grows into’ it. That can lead to injury!

If you give your child second hand toys, make sure they’re in good condition, and thoroughly cleaned before you pass them on to your child. Any loose objects pose a choking risk, and soft toys can harbour all kinds of bacteria.

Last, but not least, avoid toys that contain magnets. These have been proven to cause intestinal problems, when one or more is swallowed, and the magnetism causes twisting of the intestines.

Buying well made toys from reputable manufacturers is the best way to ensure that your child has quality toys that are not hazardous to his or her health. Rather avoid cheap, poorly made toys, and always bear in mind recommendations and reviews.

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