Posted on: 11.03.2015.
Author: Ana G
Hanging out with Lightning McQueen. Image courtesy of william rei udarbe on Flickr.
Playtime is one of the most entertaining parts of childhood. There is nothing more exciting and inspiring than seeing a child's face light up at the sight of the new toy. You want to provide your kids with fun, educational toys that will hold their attention and kick-start their imaginations. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the numerous recalls that are issued each year, toys aren't always fun and games. Defects and other issues can pose serious safety hazards.
Are your child's toys safe? How do you ensure you're buying safe toys for your children? By educating yourself about these crucial matters, you can ensure that the toys you buy to entertain your kids don't end up hurting them instead.
The next time you are in the market for a new toy for your child, consider the following.
Toy safety testing in the U.S. Image courtesy of toyassociation.org
When researching toys for your child, the Internet is a great place to start. You can quickly zero in on fun, educational, safe toys that are suitable for your little one. If you're stumped about what kind of toy to get in the first place, get recommendations from friends and relatives. Before making the actual purchase, visit the toy manufacturer's website to find out how the toy is made, and to check the product's safety info.
You should never disregard labels, packaging and instructions when buying toys for your children. Before giving a new toy to your kid, read the provided materials carefully. What kinds of components is the toy made out of? What's the suggested age range for the toy? Does it contain any potentially hazardous parts? For things like painted toys and art supplies, find out what kinds of chemicals are used during the manufacturing process.
Toy manufacturers prominently display recommended age ranges on their products. Be sure to follow their guidance. If your child is too young for the toy, don't buy it. It could very well be that the toy is hazardous for a child as young as yours. Remember that age recommendations take kids' abilities into consideration as well. If your child is too young for the toy, it's liable to be a frustrating experience. Also, be careful with toys that are associated with movies, TV shows, books and other media. Sometimes, the subject matter isn't age-appropriate and can frighten younger kids.
How to buy the safest toys? Video by the European Commission.
Watch out for toys with these potentially dangerous features:
When buying toys from secondhand shops and garage sales, inspect them carefully for hazardous components before giving them to your child. You can refer to different sites to check for possible recalls. Follow the same process for hand-me-down toys. Just because a particular toy was considered safe years ago doesn't mean that it meets today's standards.
Toy recalls statistics. Image courtesy of cpsc.gov
Keep yourself informed by checking the recent toy recalls frequently. U.S. readers can refer to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) site, while those located in the European Union should look for more information at the European Commission Consumer Affairs site. Recall listings typically state where the toy was sold, when it was manufactured, why it was recalled and steps you can take to make it safe, that is, whether you should throw it away or could potentially qualify for a replacement. Also, you can sign up for free email alerts, and check for more toy recall information at Recalls.gov, ToyInfo.org, European Child Safety Alliance website and other.
Ensure the safety of your child after opening the toy by taking the next safety steps.
Before giving a new toy to your child, remove and discard all packaging, including ties, staples, foam, plastic wrap and plastic bags. Don't forget to check for and remove plastic protective film over mirrors and other delicate components.
Child playing with safe toys. Image courtesy of murphey-law.com
Just because a toy is new doesn't mean it's definitely safe. Look it over for loose or sharp parts, or any other components that might be dangerous for your child. Also, make sure it is not easily breakable. You don't want parts of the toy falling off in the middle of child's playtime.
Even if it's a fairly straightforward toy, read the instructions carefully. This is especially important when it comes to safe and proper assembling of a toy. After reading instructions on the proper usage of the toy, explain it carefully to your little one, and make sure your child follows your guidance.
It may require some extra time, but it's still wise to fill out and return the registration card that's provided with your child's new toy. This allows the manufacturer to easily contact you in the event of a recall.
Family playtime. Image courtesy of intelligentnest.com
A few additional, general tips to keep your child safe while playing with toys include:
The power of toys should not be underestimated. They are not only vital tools when it comes to physical, mental, emotional and social growth of children, but also the means for the development of their imagination and creativity.
Toys are such crucial parts of child's playtime that they require some extra care and caution during the buying process. It always pays to perform due diligence, whether it's a brand-new toy or a used one. By keeping these safety tips in mind, you will be able to protect your child more effectively from potentially hazardous toys, and ensure that playtime remains fun and memorable at all times.