Parents Guide to Toy Safety
As a parent, keeping your child safe is always your top priority. You babyproof your home. You make sure your child’s food isn’t a choking hazard. You cover electrical outlets. You do your best to keep them safe! When it comes to toys, there are a lot of things you may not know regarding safety. You assume that if it's on the market, then it's safe for play! This thinking, for the most part, is true. However, there are hazards and precautions you should know about.
Historically, toy safety has always been an important topic, but it hasn’t always been prioritized. Today, there are regulations in place to guarantee a standard of quality in the toys you buy. Even with these standards, there are still some important things to know! So, let’s talk about toy safety!
What is toy safety?
Before we get too far into our blog, you may be thinking, “What exactly is toy safety?”. Essentially, toy safety is all about making play fun and safe! Toy safety includes knowing the dangers of toys, potential hazards, and reducing the risk of injury or serious harm in your child’s environment.
Toy safety can be overwhelming at first! There are a lot of details that make up toy safety! So much so that you may feel burnt out after researching, but remember to take a breath and remind yourself that kids are resilient! You prioritizing their safety is more important than you may even realize!
Importance of toy safety
As parents, we know toy safety is a top priority. Your kids are your world and so much learning happens through toys! However, learning can only be successful if your child is in a safe environment and is using the toys around them properly.
For a long time, there were no safety standards for children as it was not a major concern in society at the time. However, today we know that the safety of kids is a priority and is important to all families at a global level.
Even if you’re not a parent, the chances of a kid being in your life are extremely high! Perhaps you are in charge of babysitting your niece or nephew or your best friend is starting a family. No matter your situation, knowing how to keep children safe is an important skill for everyone to have.
When you leave your child alone in a room, no matter for how long, you don’t want to have to worry about your child being at risk due to the toys around them. A simple trip to the bathroom shouldn’t be an anxiety filled moment as a parent. Knowing your child is safe without a fear of your child being at risk of choking or in harm’s way because of a toy is why toy safety matters.
Today, toys are one of the safest categories found in your home!
The Toy Safety Act
In 1984, an act was passed by congress “to protect the public by ordering notice and repair, replacement or refund of certain toys or articles intended for use by children if such toys or articles contain a defect which creates a substantial risk of injury to children”.
As we mentioned, the safety of kids hasn’t always been a priority for society. In the United States, certain periods such as the industrial revolution put kids at risk and in harmful environments that caused severe injuries and even death.
However, the role of kids has changed since then. No longer expected to work, kids are able to be kids and the 1984 Toy Safety Act makes sure this is possible. Prior to this act, there were no age suggestions on toys and choking was a major cause of death in children. Through the passing of the Toy Safety Act, the safety of children was finally made a priority.
Toy safety regulations
Since the passing of the Toy Safety Act, various regulations continue to be passed in order to guarantee the safety of toys.
Data is constantly being collected in order to make sure that current regulations are the most effective guidelines that guarantee toy safety. In fact, each state has their own slightly different set of regulations.
The American Standard for Testing & Materials, known as the ASTM, measures all toys and guarantees their safety before they are allowed on the market. Based on new data regarding child development, the ASTM is always updating their standards, making sure that the toys children play with are certified and the best and safest options possible.
Toy safety hazards
When it comes to understanding toy safety, it's important to know the hazards that put your child at risk. Some hazards are more obvious than others. Here is a list of hazards that are important to know as a parent or as someone taking care of children!
- Choking: One of the more obvious toy dangers is choking. Kids are curious and try to experience the world around them in any way that they can, meaning they often put objects into their mouths. They don’t know the danger of small objects. Toys with detachable parts or that are small in size are a choking hazard for young kids. Until your child is able to understand what choking is, keep their toys big enough that they are unable to put them in their mouths and successfully swallow them.
- Magnets: Magnets are a sneaky toy that many do not realize are a danger. If your child swallows more than one magnet, your child’s health will be in serious danger. While inside your child’s stomach, the magnets will work to move together, creating life threatening complications. Today, magnets are often used in kids toys. If your child is old enough to know not to swallow the magnets, they are a great tool to work on creativity! However, if your child is too young and still at risk of swallowing non-edible objects, we recommend waiting until they are older to bring magnets into your home!
- Strangulation: When babyproofing your home, one of the most important steps is to make sure your curtain strings are beyond the reach of your child, as they are a huge safety risk for your child. Similar to this, toys that have strings, ribbons, loops, or long strands can be wrapped around your child’s neck and your child can experience strangulation. Either only allow your child time with a longer toy if you are around to monitor their play or simply keep string toys out of your home until your child is old enough to understand the risk of strangulation!
- Burns: Some electrical toys can be a risk to your child. One specific risk is the chance of burns which can occur if a toy heats up or or is improperly handled. If a toy requires batteries or charging, it's for the best to have an adult present to monitor the situation!
- Sharp Edges: Sharp edges are a hazard to everyone no matter their age, but especially for young children. Young children are still working on their balance, making them wobbly and prone to falling. This can be a risky situation when you add in the factor of sharp edges. Give yourself peace of mind and eliminate toys with sharp edges from your toy box.
Toy safety tips
- Keep your toys in a safe space
- Explain how to play with a specific toy
- Inspect toys
- Throw away broken toys
- Talk to friends about favorite toys
- Read about the materials in your toys
- Update toys as your child grows
Toy safety checklist
Now that we’ve discussed toy safety, here is a quick list of things to consider when buying a new toy:
- Does the toy have small parts that can be easily swallowed?
- Does the toy have magnets? If so, are they small enough to be swallowed?
- Are there strings on the toy that could cause strangulation?
- Could your child be left alone with this toy?
- Will this toy stay intact for years to come?
- Are there edges on this toy that could scratch or puncture your child?
- Will this toy break easily?
- Will the toy’s material scratch or harm your child?
- Is the recommended age appropriate for your child?
These are just a few suggestions when buying toys! Trust your gut and know that if you have doubts about a toy, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
We hope that this blog post will act as a strong foundation as a parents guide to toy safety. There is so much more to discover, but we believe the topics we cover are some of the most important concepts to understand when learning about toy safety. Your child is your entire world and keeping them safe is a number one priority.
As a toy company, we know the impact toys can have on your child’s development, but we also acknowledge the risk toys can have on your child’s safety. That is why our products are all safe and durable and why we are providing this information to help you be as informed as you can be! With that being said, we hope you found this blog helpful! Feel free to comment below any suggestions or questions you have!