As parents, we only want the best for our kids. From food, clothing, shelter, education and yes – even toys. Toys are meant to provide enjoyment, and are helpful in developing children’s technical ability and social skills.
However, we also often hear about the hazards that toys can pose to our little ones. Toy safety has been highlighted globally following issues on lead/chemical content and its impacts on health as well as some alarming incidents like suffocation and choking.
Here are some tips to ensure that we keep our little ones away from toy-related dangers:
- Follow age safety labels. The age guidelines are set after specific standards and should not be ignored, even if your child seems advanced for his age.
- Avoid buying toys with small and loose parts as these may cause choking and suffocation. Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those younger than four years of age. Along with food, toys are one of the main culprits. It helps to be extra cautious and learn first aid for choking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a choking episode occurs.
- Invest in quality toys. Steer away from cheap, substandard materials as these are likely produced without abiding by strict international safety standards. Aside from containing dangerous chemicals like lead (which accumulates in the body and cause long-term damage), cheap materials also tend to break quickly and can cut or choke your kids!
- Avoid sharp and pointed objects as well as air guns. These toys can cause injuries, more commonly to the kids’ eyes and heads. If you decide to give these toys to older children, make sure to comply with the safety warnings and teach your kids how to use them properly.
- Discard plastic bags/wrappings immediately. They can suffocate small children.
- Cords, strings or ribbons should not be hung in playpens and cribs to avoid young children from being entangled which can lead to serious injury and even death.
- Supervise children while playing, especially children 24 months and below. Better yet, play with them. Not only do we make sure that they are safe, playing together forms a wonderful bond amongst family.
- Look for the quality seal. All toys supplied in the UK must meet a list of essential safety requirements. To ensure that these requirements are met, always look for the CE Marking.
- Provide a safe playing environment. Child-proof your home by making sure that hazards are kept away from children’s reach. Also, conduct toy inspection regularly and discard broken toys to prevent injury.
- Be ready with emergency numbers. Keep a copy posted on the fridge and save them on your mobile phones, too!
While it’s important be vigilante when it comes to our kids’ safety in relation to toys, please do not forget that toys are fun and helpful in child development if we choose wisely. Stay safe and happy play time!
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