One of your main concerns as a parent is your child's safety. Making sure that he's got safe environment to grow in is essential for a great childhood.
Toys play an essential role in a kid's development, so it's important that you make sure they are both education but also that they pose no threat. But I do not want to get overboard with this. It's OK to be concerned and careful, but do not get into the over-protective mode! Or, at least do not appear to be so.
So here are ten tips to help you chose safe toys for your child:
- Consider your child's age. This is obvious, and it will determine the range of toys you need to look for. If you're out of ideas, most toy stores have their shelves organized on age groups so you can easily get huge list of appropriate gifts for your kid.
- Read the labels. These provide lots of useful information like instruction of how to play with the toy, how to assemble it, the age groups it is recommended for, whether adult supervision is required or not and so on. Be flexible with the age groups. If your kid is 3 and the toy is labeled for kids of age 4, it's still a good idea to choose that toy, given you're supervising the play.
- Check for the sturdiness of the toy. If there are small parts that are very likely to come off after a light drop, it's a good idea to look for something else. I'm thinking of the wheels of toy cars, eyes from teddy bears and so on.
- Are they easy to clean? It's a good practice to clean the toys at least once a month to avoid any germs that may spread this way. For stuffed toys, they should be easily washable because they tend to gather lots of dust. Bath toys should also be washed very often because they tend to be covered in soap and leftovers from the bath. Given the pleasure young kids have to chew toys, it's a good idea to have them clean all the time.
- Chose toys that have large parts for youngger kids. Toddlers and babies like to chew things. Having a great selection of teeth toys is great, but most often, they just grab any of the toys they have and have their way with it. Get toys with no detachable small parts and watch for any potential flaws in the toys when he's playing.
- Avoid toys that make sharp noises. Young kids are more sensitive to powerful noises and it is possible to damage the hearing for life and, more or less dangerous, it may be a powerful shock that will psychologically traumatize him and make him scared of everything.
- Avoid toys that shoot things in the air, like arrows or small balls. Toy guns are a definite no!
- Still in the same category, toys with sharp edges should never be found in your kid's toy collection. They sometimes throw toys, more or less powerfully, and if there's another kid close, he might get injured.
- Be careful with crib toys. If there are any cords attached to the toys, remove them. Never tie a toy to the crib because there's a very high risk of strangulation. Just leave the toys with the kid, and if he wants them, he'll play with them.
- Store toys in a safe toy chest that does not automatically lock when closed. It should be pretty difficult for the kid to climb in, but they should always get out of it easily.
And there are many more safety tips you can consider, but as previously mentioned, do not get overboard with it. Focus on making play a fun and educational experience for your child and you'll have a happy kid.