The first thing on everyone’s mind when you have a baby is picking out the perfect gift—and said gift is often a brand-new, shiny toy. However, there are many challenges and safety issues associated with toys and babies that parents should be aware of.
Keep reading to find out the best way to keep your child safe when it comes to toys.
- Be phthalate savvy! Nobody wants their little one to be exposed to harmful, toxic chemicals. Avoid everything that has phthalates, or “plasticizers,” in them. This is the chemical that makes plastic soft and malleable (we’re looking at you, rubber duckies!) and should be avoided. For a guide to safer plastics, read more here.
- Avoid flame retardants. Unbeknownst to consumers, furniture, children’s toys and a whole slew of products with flame retardants cause serious harm. Fire retardants are made up of organohalogen chemicals which have been associated with serious human health problems, including cancer, increased time to pregnancy, decreased IQ in children, impaired memory, learning deficits, hyperactivity, hormone disruption and lowered immunity. To see the guidelines and what you should avoid, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission here.
- Choose natural material! When possible choose plastic-free toys such as fabric teethers, unpainted wooden toys, or cloth toys.
- Quality over quantity. Well-made toys might be more spendy, but they will also last longer and will be less likely to break down. Make sure that as toys “age,” there are no sharp edges or peeling paint.
- Avoid toys with small magnets. Small, powerful magnets are sometimes used in toys, and they may fall out of the toy and be swallowed by a child (necessitating emergency surgery for the child). The best way to eliminate this danger is to avoid toys with magnets as much as possible.
- Beware of choking hazards. Make sure there are no tiny parts that might pose a choking risk to your young child. Also be cautious of small parts that could potentially fall off of the toy, such as buttons on a doll.