Choosing Toys Appropriate for Your Child's Age

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Playtime is important to your child's development. One thing you can do to enhance that developmental playtime is to provide safe toys for kids. Your child's age plays a large role in determining what toys are safe for him or her to play with.

Infants

Babies love to play with and consider everything they can get their hands on a possible toy. Many toys are not appropriate for infants, though. Choking is a particular risk for babies, because they put everything in their mouths. Be sure that baby toys do not have any small parts, toxic paints, or loose fabric. Stuffed toys are also not recommended for infant- there's a risk of suffocation if they can't turn their face away from the toy.

Toddlers

Playtime with toddlers is magical- they're interested in exploring everything. Make sure the world they're exploring is safe by checking toy labels for age limits. As with infants, toddler's toys safety includes no small parts which could be swallowed. Look out for toys that are heavy or have sharp edges or points. Toys with wheels can be a tripping hazard and a child pushing a wheeled toy can lose their balance.

School-aged Children

At a certain age, kids have the skills to play with most toys safely. It's still a good idea to buy toys recommended for their age range, though. While common sense kids safety tips apply to most toys, some are still too advanced. No matter what your child's age, there are certain things you should look for when choosing safe toys for kids.

Cloth toys should be flame resistant or flame retardant.
Check the contents of stuffed toys- plastic beads can spill out and be swallowed.
Make sure a toy isn't too loud- the noise of some electronic toys can damage hearing.
Painted and plastic toys should be labeled non-toxic.
Art materials should say ASTM D-4236 on the package.
Be wary of used toys. They may not meet current safety standards.

Toy manufacturers follow safety guidelines and label most new toys for specific age groups. Guidelines developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can also be helpful when making safe toy buying decisions. Still, use your own judgment. Consider your child's development, play habits, and temperament. Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to ensure toys safety is to participate in your child’s playtime.

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