In 2017 alone there were over 250,000 children seen in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Toys are an integral part of learning and fun for any child, but there are safe toys and toys you should avoid.
Avoiding Toy Injuries
It’s extremely important that you only buy age-appropriate toys based on your child’s age. Not letting them get the toy they want is not going to kill them; however, getting it for them could. More importantly, especially for young children the best thing you can do is supervise their play time when the toys are out.
Age-Ratings On Toys
Keep in mind the age ratings on toys are based only on safety factors – not your individual child’s intelligence, mannerisms, size, or maturity level. It’s up to you to determine if the age-rating on each toy meets concerns you have for your child’s safety.
Although the toy itself may have an age rating that meets the age of your child, consider your child – their habits, and behaviors. For instance, if you have a 2-year-old child that likes to put everything in their mouth and find a 2-4-year-old age-rated toy with parts they could put in their mouth – don’t buy it.
Tips for Choosing Toys
While shopping for new toys, ensure that any toys made from fabric are labeled as flame retardant or flame resistant. All stuffed toys should be washable to ensure you can wash away the imminent germs that will collect on them. Ensure that all painted-toys are lead-free and art materials say nontoxic.
Crayons and Paint
Crayons and paints will have a specific identifier on their packaging if they have been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The identifier to look for is “ASTM D-4236”.
Older Toys and Other Considerations
Safe toy guidelines were only established in 1995; therefore stay away from letting your child play with hand-me-downs or toys that may have been passed down from generation to generation. If you do not know the age of the toy, or it’s age-rating, skip it.
Keep in mind the loudness of the toy. Surprisingly, there are no specific guidelines limiting how loud toys can be, and some can damage your child’s hearing. If the toy makes noise, make sure it is not so loud of a sound that could potentially cause hearing damage.