As you search for the perfect toy to give to the little ones in your life this holiday season, you may be confused and even scared about some of the recent media attention on toy recalls and, safety in general.
Some parents have even decided to look for other gift alternatives instead of buying toys. But is this really wise? Toys are intended not only to be a form of entertainment for children, but also a beneficial and vital part of their development. They provide a wonderful source of learning and entertainment for kids of all ages. Playing with creative toys enhances motor skills and provides a constructive way to release energy. By selecting quality toys from a company that researches their manufacturers thoroughly and regularly, you are giving a child an amazing way to foster creativity and stimulate intellectual development.
Guidelines for Toy Selection
Even before any toy gets anywhere near your toddler, you can already ensure their safety and appropriateness to your toddler’s age through a careful and thoughtful toy selection.
A good starting point would be opting for age-appropriate toys. Look for a “recommended age” sticker on the toy package. This would guide you on which toys can be handled by your child given his control ability and level of maturity. You must also consider the size of the toy to make sure that the toy or any of its parts could not fit into your child’s mouth. Weight is another matter to bear in mind. You don’t want your child injured should the toy accidentally fall on him. The toy should also be free from parts that can be easily detached such as buttons or strings or chords that may pose the danger of strangulation.
Tips for Toy Sanitation
The kind and quality of toys are not the only factors that could render them unfit for use or hazardous to your little one. Dirt and harmful bacteria and pollutants that attach to toys could pose danger as well. Let us face it; you can not sanitize your child’s environment nor his toys one hundred percent. But you can certainly make sure they are cleaned properly. One thing to bear in mind is that not all toys are cleaned the same way. The trick is in knowing which toys may be tossed in the dishwasher and which ones should be washed by hand, or spray-cleaned or machine-washed. Most toddler toys may simply be soaked in warm, soapy water. You may add in a small amount of cleaning agents such as a dish soap or liquid soap or dishwashing detergent to get them cleaned. Large plastic toys should be regularly washed with soap and rinsed using a hose to carefully remove hard-sticking dirt. Stuff toys on the other hand may be handled by the machine unless the instruction label warns not to put in washing machine.
Another suggestion is to pay attention to age recommendations on toys. They are put on the packages for a reason. You may think your child is old enough to play with a toy that is made for an older child, but toys with small or removable parts can cause injuries or asphyxiation. Some older children also still like to put things in their nose, ears and mouths, so you are the best judge to know what is appropriate for them.