This close to Christmas, Big Red and his Elves go into overdrive making kids toys. So how sure are you that his Quality Control is perfect? Here are some hints and tips to help you choose the safe toys at any time of year, not just for Christmas!
Read the warning labels, age guides, etc. They’re on the box for a reason! But also take in to account your kids interests and skills and abilities. Choosing safe toys doesn’t have to mean choosing boring kids toys!
Give the kids toys a beating. Perhaps you shouldn’t bring a hammer to the toy shop, but most kids don’t treat their toys as fragile. If you want safe kids toys, choose ones that are well-built, look strong and don’t have sharp edges or (unintentional) loose bits. Oh, and if your kids are really young, consider how chew-proof the toy is.
If your kids toys aren’t coming directly from Expensive-R-Us this Christmas (and especially if they’ve been previously loved) double-check the points above. Labels could easily be missing so it’s down to you to make sure they’re safe. Make sure stuffies & other soft toys are washable. If you’re unsure of the hygiene of previously loved kids soft toys (or clothes, etc.) a night in the freezer followed by a boil wash will deal with most bugs and leave you with safe toys.
Brush up on your choking and CPR skills with one of our courses. Alternatively, avoid kids toys with tiny parts, small magnets, etc. until they are old enough. And at the Christmas party, watch where the bits of burst balloon go to! Oh, and keep an eye on those small batteries too.
While we’re on topic – if your kid does happen to swallow magnets or batteries, get them to immediate medical help. Just don’t drive them there if you’ve been enjoying the Christmas Bottle yourself!
Long strings & babies don’t mix. Safe toys have pull-strings under a foot (30 cm) in length for young kids.
How’s your skill with treating electrocution? Not so hot? Then you should probably avoid any kids toys that plug-in until their age hits double digits.
Safe toys are non-toxic – check the labels and watch for things like lead paint. It’s hard to believe I’m actually typing that, but some kids toy manufacturers still use toxic stuff. Don’t give them any business.
Been to the un-fair? While the 3 ft 6″ pooh-bear you won looks awesome, if it wasn’t sold, it doesn’t legally have to meet safety standards. Double check kids toys you won at the fair, in vending machines, at the carnival, etc.
Thanks to http://kidshealth.org/ for some of the ideas and our students (and their kids) for inspiring the rest!