From the moment your baby enters your life and your home, your first concern is for his safety and well-being. The quest to keep your child safe never leaves you, even though you know you can't control everything in your child's environment all of the time. Nevertheless, there are things you can control and one of the most predominant is what toys your baby will play with and which environment they will be in when they do play.
Selecting Toys with Safety in Mind
When your baby is a tiny infant, the toys you select will be chosen with infant safety in mind. That goes for baby gear, as well as toys. Items that will automatically go into the mouth must be made of non-toxic material, that goes without saying. Another thing that provides baby safety for less cost is to wash toys regularly - with non-toxic cleaning solutions. Baby products that have anything in them that could endanger your child in any way will likely never make it into your home. As baby becomes more mobile, baby proofing the house, blocking off the steps and dangerous areas with baby safety gates and putting safety first is of prime importance.
Some Safety Tips for Baby's Toys
We have complied some baby safety tips for toys and play environments to help ensure fewer babies and toddlers become the victims of unnecessary injury and harm. Before buying baby toys, measure what you plan to buy against this baby safety information. Most toys have a "recommended age" sticker on them. This sticker is there on purpose and no matter how bright and brilliant your baby may be, it is vital that you are realistic about his level of maturity and abilities.
Until your baby is a three-year-old (at least) all parts of toys he plays with should be bigger than his mouth in order to avoid choking. Make sure all parts of the toys are intact and can't be pulled apart unless they are meant to be - like interlocking toy pieces that are too big to swallow. This is usually well policed with a first child, but when a second comes along and the older child is big enough to play with more intricate toys, then the baby is at risk. Do you pull the plug on your older child's playtime and toys? It's not necessary to do that - just be sure you have toys that are safe for both children, and there are plenty of those around. Separating the more problematic toys into a special box just for the older child is another way to deal with this - then he can play with them at a specific time and will learn to be responsible to put them away properly. It also allows the older child to feel special, having something that is his alone.
Heavy Toys, Big Toys, and Batteries...Just Say No
If a toy is so heavy that your baby will be injured if it falls on him, pass on it. Likewise if the toy is too big in size. For instance, if a ride-on toy is too high for the toddler, find something smaller. Better that than a fall and the fear that often comes along with it. Pass on battery operated toys also. Batteries can leak and babies like to suck on things shaped like batteries. Battery acid is not an appropriate drink for a baby. Electric toys often come with cords, which pose a strangulation risk. Baby monitors and night lights should be well out of reach of little hands. Cloth books and wooden toys and baby music still rank pretty high on the baby safety list.
Strings and Things Cause Choking
Strings, cords, cables, hanging mobiles and crib gyms all present a very dangerous potential for tiny children. Tying a teether around a baby's neck with a ribbon or lace is another dangerous practice. Curtain strings, rubber bands, and twist ties, while useful for specific purposes in the house, pose untold dangers for infants. Get on your hands and knees and patrol the floors of your house regularly. That's looking at things from your baby's perspective and you'll probably be quite amazed at what you turn up.
Consumer Product Dangerous List
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) named magnets the #1 hidden home hazard in 2007. Some children's toys use small, powerful magnets in them and if a child swallows two small magnets, then they can be attracted to one another in the child's intestines or stomach, causing no end of pain and problem. Children under the age of 6 should not be given any toys with magnets in them. In the fall of 2010, Fisher Price recalled 11 million children's items, including tricycles, highchairs, and toy cars, because of safety problems. More than 7 million tricycles were recalled because a child could sit on, hit or fall on a plastic "ignition key" that sticks out from the body of the tricycle. This could result in "serious injury, including genital bleeding," according to the CPSC.
As difficult as it can be sometimes, the best way to ensure your baby's safety is to keep an eye on him. And, really, isn't that what parenting is all about anyway?